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Three Healthy Habits for Replanters

Three Healthy Habits for Replanters

As I type this, we are in the weird in-between of Christmas and the New Year.  The craziness of Christmas is over, the gifts have been opened, the boxes thrown away, and for the industrious among us, maybe the Christmas decorations have even been put back in the attic for another 11 months.  No one is sure what day it is and we’ve finished the leftovers and Christmas candy at an unhealthy rate. But the New Year lingers just around the corner, ready for our resolutions and our wishes for the coming year.

Over 35% of Americans make resolutions for the new year– they want to travel more, or budget better, renovate their house, or declutter it.  But the most common New Year’s Resolution by far is to exercise more.  Almost half (48%) of Americans make this their goal each January. In fact, general health-related resolutions cover the top 3 of all resolutions, and a Swiss study found that 70% of all resolutions relate to physical health, whether through more exercise, healthier eating habits, or losing weight.

As replanters, we would be smart to set some goals for our church and for our spiritual health this year, as well. In Episode 132, the Replant Bootcamp guys, along with Walker Armstrong, discussed some of the ways replanters can stay healthy– spiritually, mentally, physically, and even financially.

A man sits alone on a bench

Don’t Pastor Alone

We have never done well alone.  In Genesis 2:18, God himself declares this truth and so creates Eve as a helpmate for Adam. And yet, even as they study the Bible and believe the Word of God to be true, many pastors will attempt to pastor alone.  But we must make an intentional effort not to pastor in private.

When pastors shrug off the benefits of a network of fellow pastors, they open themselves up to potential destruction.  They are bypassing accountability among friends, possibly allowing for sin to creep into their isolation, and they are in danger of making decisions in a vacuum, resulting in a vision that lacks input and perspective.

This year, there may be struggles ahead for you that you can’t see yet– struggles for which only another pastor can offer insight and advice. Your best goal for this year is to form a network of pastors whom you respect and trust and make a habit to meet with them regularly.  A great place to find them is your local association.  If your association isn’t set up for that, call a few in your area and ask them to begin meeting with you.  You might even want to use that time to check off the next resolution.

Read a Book (or 12)

The obvious goal here is to read the Bible more– many of your congregation members will have this goal, as well.  And while of course I encourage you to truly spend time in the Word (not just for sermon prep), I am not referring to the Bible for this specific resolution.

There are so many resources out there for replant pastors– so many books written by men who have walked this same road and have faced what you face.  Those pastors and authors may not be available for regular meetings the way your association brothers in Christ are.  You don’t have the same access to a pastor across the country as you would a pastor across town.  But good news!  They’ve written their advice and insight down and it’s always available!

I love reading and often have multiple books on my nightstand that I am reading or plan to read.  But I know not everyone is a reader.  My husband was not a reader.  He didn’t enjoy it, and he struggled to find books that kept his attention.  His solution? Audio books.  He now listens to them on his commute or while he works out. He chose to make a habit of listening to the wisdom of others in a way that works for him.

Make a commitment to read at least one book on Replanting per month and glean from those men who have gone before you.  Their advice is invaluable and will only make you better. (We just happen to have a list of resources that would assist you in meeting this goal.)

Refresh Your Spirit

Replanting is hard work.  (If someone told you it was easy, they lied and you need to encourage them to repent in Jesus’ name.) You will get tired.  You will get discouraged. There will be days where you will be ready to give in and give up.  But if you set the goal now to intentionally refresh your spirit at various times through the year, you will be able to hang on.

One of the best ways to refresh your spirit is through the various conferences, summits, and gatherings offered to replant pastors throughout the year.  Sometimes pastors don’t make time for these because they don’t see the value in them.  But let me tell you, there is nothing more encouraging to your spirit as sitting in a room with other replant pastors and knowing that no matter how you feel or what you’re going through, you are not alone.

Another way to refresh your spirit is through physical exercise.  (I know, this isn’t supposed to be about those resolutions but hear me out!) Even something as small as a daily walk can benefit your muscular, nervous, and cardiovascular systems. But did you know it also releases endorphins that improve your mood, sharpen your mental focus, and help you get better sleep?

Refreshing your spirit is also assisted by pursuing hobbies that interest and engage you.  Take time to find something that isn’t related to your job but brings you satisfaction and joy. When we carve out time to engage our brains and our hearts into something we love, we are better equipped for the mundane everyday tasks that weigh us down.

a chalkboard that says "don't make resolutions, make habits."

Don’t be a Quitter

We all start January 1st with great intentions. But of all the millions of people setting their goals for the new year, only 9% will successfully achieve those goals by December 31st of the same year. In fact, so many people quit by the second Friday in January that it’s now nationally recognized as “Quitters Day.” (This year, it’s January 13th.)

But if we want to stay healthy this year as replanters, we must be like the 9%, who look back in December and can say, “Man, I’m a lot further ahead than I was last year!” We must be intentional about staying healthy in every facet of our lives. We must make habits, not mere resolutions.

Let’s look ahead with a renewed purpose and plan toward the future, knowing that our resolutions today will be our accomplishments tomorrow.