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 View of Stress, Well? (part 5)

The power of stress must not be ignored.[1]  In his book Time Bomb in the Church:  Defusing Pastoral Burnout, medical doctor Daniel Spaite describes the pastoral atmosphere as a “time bomb that ticks away with undetected certainty” that is caused by “the over-worked, stressed-out lifestyle of the modern pastor.” [2]  He writes of the specific ailments that can befall a pastor who has “spent with no back-up for recovery” and is overcome by the “contemporary anomaly called burnout.”  Such indicators demand the attention of your own pastoral care.

The Impact of Stress upon Breathing 

Known as a “panic attack,” hyperventilation occurs when a person breathes so rapidly, they exhale too much carbon dioxide.  Sensing an inability to breathe, panic is heightened, intensifying the attack.  Symptoms can include the obvious shortness of breath, along with irregular heartbeat, light-headedness, chest pain, numbness, or tingling in the hands and feet.  These symptoms may be treated with sedatives, bringing immediate relief, but leaving the inevitable cause—stress.[3]  

The Impact of Stress upon Longevity 

Stressors are rarely perceived for their true nature; generally, they are seen as hardships, which are thought to naturally lead to exhaustion.  Adaptation becomes the norm of response, yet if the stressors are not removed, the individual will resign or move to another place of service.  Physical and emotional collapse will lead to giving up or “burning out.”  Rightly understood, burnout “is not a failure of faith or character, courage or stamina.  It is the body’s protective mechanism pushed to its extreme.  The gears grind to a halt.  Everything inside a person shouts, ‘Enough!’  Finally, the message registers, almost too late.” [4]  

Appropriate church committees or boards must ensure that the pastor and his family have adequate times of rest, relaxation, and recuperation.  This was modeled time and time again by the Lord Jesus.  “Jesus knew that he must restore His wary heart, mind, and body.  All though Jesus was fully divine, He was also fully human!  Though He remained sinless, Jesus experienced the finiteness, frailty, and limitations of His humanity (Hebrews 4:15).  Thus, it was absolutely necessary that He find rest and strength in frequent wilderness experiences with His Father.” [5]  Sadly, pastors will often not realize how stressful their lives have been until they remove themselves from the situation through a vacation, or perhaps moving to another pastorate.


Ask.  Have you asked your spouse how your breathing is?  Doing so may open a window into the stealth-like nature of stress.

Authentic.  Are you generally authentic in gauging your health?  Rather than perpetually adapting, decide to be honest in evaluations.

Appoint.  Do you closely monitor committee selection processes?  Ensuring that Christians serve from their gifts is vital, particularly for the personnel or church-staff relations committee. 

© Jim Fisher, Ph.D.
Christian Education and Leadership Concepts, LLC.
Fit for the Fight, March 2012


[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]  Spaite, Daniel. 1999. Time Bomb in the Church: Defusing Pastoral Burnout, (Kansas City, MO: Beacon Hill Press), 9.

[3]  Ibid, 28

[4]  Ibid, 29

[5]  Ibid,125

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.