Team Contacts
1.800.622.6549 (LA only)

Bill Robertson, Director Pastoral Leadership Team
ext. 291

JoLynn Chesser, Administrative Assistant
ext. 292

Stacy Morgan, Church Administration Strategist
ext. 293

Dianne York, Administrative Assistant
ext. 231

Eddie DeHondt, Bivocational Smaller Church Consultant - North

Gary Mitchell, Bivocational Smaller Church Consultant - South
ext. 294

Benjamin Harlan, Music Strategist
ext 234


Pastoral Team

Pastor, Is Your Self-Control Well?

Some aspects of minimal self-control can be readily observed by others: a large waist-line, a short-fuse, and near-sighted planning cannot be missed.1 Yet, there are other elements that may be unknown for a while, including any number of hidden sins which will inevitably be revealed. One must ask; "Can a leader be disciplined in one area and not another, even if the area is publically invisible?" History says that it is only a matter a time before the unseen is manifested.


The issue of gluttony comprises a major role in addressing the body, the soul, and ultimately, spiritual wellness. Gluttony has a broader scope than just the commonly attributed matter of over-eating, as it is multi-faceted:

  1. Gluttony is the habit of surrendering to appetites (Genesis 25:30; 27:4; Exodus 16:3;Deuteronomy 12:15, 20; 14:26; 1 Samuel 2:29; 1 Kings 20:12; Proverbs
    16:26; 18:20; Ecclesiastes 6:7; Isaiah 29:8; 56:12).
  2. Gluttony is the habit of eating the wrong kinds of foods (Proverbs 23:1-3; 19-21; Ecclesiastes 5:18; 9:7).
  3. Gluttony is the habit of eating at the wrong time (Ecclesiastes 10:17).

The enemy has always sought to have believers meet natural needs through unnatural means. The needs are not the problem; it is the means of satisfying the needs that must be examined. Whether it is relationships, nourishment, finances, etc., the enemy has not changed his game plan, yet the faithful continue to fall prey. Headlines reveal the names of the popular, thrown from the vehicle of success. They crawl along the roadside of failure, refusing to acknowledge their sin, clearly choosing the world's wisdom over God's.

Ancient Believers

The book of Numbers reveals that even in the midst of God’s gracious provision of manna, the Israelites’ were exposed for having “yielding to craving” and consequently, were struck “with a very great plague” (11:31-34). Deuteronomy vividly describes the penalty for gluttony (21:20)—death by stoning. “This offense is as grave a threat to the covenant as worshipping other gods.2 Such a warning includes the realization that too much of food that is good for the body isn’t really good for the body.3 Clearly, “Christians are immune to neither obesity nor eating disorders.”4 As an antidote in succumbing to the power of appetites and even governmental/cultural influences, Daniel and the other young Hebrew men taken captive to Babylon serve as an example of godly perseverance:

Daniel was one of several young men taken in captivity to Babylon and chosen to serve in King Nebuchadnezzar’s court. The young men were to eat the king’s choice food and wine. Daniel made up his mind that he would not eat or drink that which was offered, because he didn’t want to defile himself. He asked if he and the other young men might eat vegetables and drink water. After a 10-day trial, they were tested. Their appearance was better than those who ate the king’s choice food. They then were allowed to eat vegetables and drink water, which had been proven to be much better for them (Dan. 1:8-16).5

21st Century Leadership

Christian leaders are commanded to be examples to the flock, particularly pastors, who are both sheep and shepherd (1 Peter 5:3). Such modeling is especially needed during the difficult times of Christian living that inevitably comes in an increasingly secular world. New Testament scholar Craig S. Keener notes that such first-century leaders “normally asked disciples to imitate them, and in so doing took the role of father figures.”6

Pastoral qualifications include the characteristic of “self-control,” clearly indicating the necessity of discipline in every area, including the intake of food (Titus 1:8). Such self-control includes the realization that his visual appearance may communicate more than anything that he ever verbalizes. “From the first day a pastor arrives at a new church in a new community until the day he leaves, he is judged as a representative of God” and has the “singular responsibility to demonstrate Christ.”7 This has far-reaching implications, to include proclaiming and presenting self-discipline to believers and unbelievers. A lack of discipline may cause sheep to follow their shepherd down the road of self-neglect, beyond hope of repair, bringing their ministries, if not their lives, to a premature end.8


Examination. Are you willing to look in the physical mirror and the biblical mirror for an honest evaluation? Perhaps you should consider an honest assessment from your wife.

Exhortation. Are you truly listening to the Holy Spirit through the Word? Or, are you telling others what He says to them as an effort to ignore your own need for fresh submission?

Exemplification. Are you willing to truly be an example to the family of God in every aspect of self-control? The high calling of leadership demands attention to every detail.

© Jim Fisher, Ph.D.
Christian Education and Leadership Concepts, LLC.
Fit for the Fight, August 2010

1 Much of the information is taken from the author’s dissertation: The Relationship between Selected Disciplines of Physical Wellness and Spiritual Wellness among Southern Baptist Pastors, 2006.
2 John Walton and Victor Matthews, The IVP Bible Background Commentary (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2000), 194.
3 Joyce Rogers, The Bible's Seven Secret to Healthy Living (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2001), 106.
4 Jim Wilcox, What Would Jesus Drive and Should You Care? (Kansas City, MO: Beacon Hill Press, 2004), 96.
5 Tommy Yessick, Building Blocks for Longer Life and Ministry (Nashville, TN: Convention Press, 1997), 67.
6 Craig Keener, The IVP Background Commentary:New Testament (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1994), 615.
7 Frank Mirnirth, Paul Meir, Brian Newman, Richard Meir, Allen Doran, and David Giongo, What They Didn't Teach You in Seminary (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 1993), 168.
8 Don Colbert, What Would Jesus Eat?, (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2002), 64-65.

Fit For The Fight - Current Issue

Fit for the Fight 02-2013
Added 6/4/2013 12:02:30 PM

“Pastor, what do you think about leadership?”  February 2013

The myriad usages of  “leadership” often obscure its origination.[1] Etymology reminds us that the meaning finds its roots in the idea of  “guiding, directing, and traveling.”  Consequently, a leader takes someone along on a journey, with a clear destination.

The Leadership Example

Christians seek to be like Him...a servant.  Leading is serving and serving is leading.  The source material for the footprints and fingerprints of Jesus is found in the Bible. Inspiration and direction come from studying Scripture, praying through the revealed Truth.  While there are official titles and positions for leadership, such labels are unnecessary to lead.  Everyone has a circle of influence. 

The use of “lead” and “serve” as synonyms does not diminish the reality of difficulties, disagreements, or debates.  It does mean the presence of a pastoral spirit and an invisible shepherd’s staff.  


Many “leaders” are survivalists, concerned with popularity over principle.  They “lead” by consensus prodding, when often, the courageous minority is right.  Indeed, a “prophet-deficit” has proven to be unbelievably costly.  The goal of leadership is not to have everyone’s approval, affection, and applause.

Matters of style and strengths are inherently connected to any conversation of leadership.  But, what is said about the substance of leadership?  The source of one’s leadership theology and its implementation/application must be foundationally fixed.  Without such security, the leader will vacillate when the winds of adversity blow.  Such a leader is unreliable, disrespected, and marginalized, even though revered as “successful.”

Personal integrity is humbly bound to a core of convictions, founded and grounded in the Scripture.  Such veracity will garner the respect of most, even amidst divergent views.  Belief and behavior must be congruent.  Convictions must be distinguished from preferences.  Confusing the two will sound an unclear trumpet to all.  


Dictionary.  What dictionary are you using to define and defend your use of “leadership?”   The source may determine the course. 

Direction.  Are you drifting away from the Truth?  The wrong book can you lead you away from the Book.  

Discipleship.  Have you forgotten the Great Commission?  Padding your resume by more seats in padded pews is not necessarily obedience. 

© Jim Fisher, Ph.D.  
Christian Education and Leadership Concepts, LLC. 
Fit for the Fight, February 2013 


 [1] Much of the information is taken from the author’s dissertation: The Relationship between Selected Disciplines of Physical Wellness and Spiritual Wellness among Southern Baptist Pastors, 2006.