The 7 Pillars of Life for Pastors

“The best investment you can make is an investment in yourself.” – Warren Buffet

Billionaire Buffet said that the best investment he ever made was spending $100 on a Dale Carnegie course years ago.

Recently, we finished reading the book, Buy Back Your Time by Dan Martell. Toward the end of his book Dan shares what he calls the 7 Pillars of Life and talks about how we need to be making investments into every one of these areas.

Just as life goes in seasons and rhythms, we have to learn to work within those seasons and rhythms to practice wisdom and take care of the most important things.

For many pastors and entrepreneurs, it’s often easy to neglect some, or all of these pillars as we are busy working hard to see our churches and businesses grow.

A few of these pillars are the following:

1. Intentionally developing deeper friendships

The Creator designed us to do life with other people. God Himself models relationship in the Bible. The Father, Son, and Spirit live together in unity, even collaborating in the creation of the world.

Jesus invested His life deeply into friendships. They were so important to Him, that the Bible even says that the names of the twelve disciples will be on the foundations of the future heaven.

Yet, unfortunately, many pastors and business leaders live in relative isolation. Yes, they have people around them that help them accomplish tasks. But they don’t necessarily have safe people in their lives who help build them up.

Probably every pastor understands there are many people in our churches who like and appreciate us as we meet a need in their lives. But the reality is that when we are no longer filling the role of their pastor, we can quickly be off of their radar.

It’s important for us to intentionally develop some deeper friendships. What some people call their 3am friends – people you could call at 3am if you had a real need.

These relationships may be with people inside or outside of our churches. They may be with other pastors. But whoever it is, we need to take the time to build people in our lives who are not just there for how we can serve them.

2. Showing Love For Your Family

In ministry, the reality is that we can win the world yet lose our own families.

Andy Stanley has a great book for dads called When Work and Family Collide. The book was formerly titled Choosing to Cheat. Using the illustration of a large rock, symbolizing the responsibility of keeping our families going at home, he shares how easy it is for dads to regularly leave their wives holding the rock while they ride off to give all of their attention to work. He challenges dads to not regularly leave their spouse holding the rock alone.

Don’t regularly cheat your family of time and attention. Don’t be a pastor who tries to please everyone else but neglected my own family.

Your children won’t care about the plaque they gave you at work or school. They will, however, remember sledding down icy slopes, leisurely reading books by the fire, and taking long walks in the woods.

The family that plays together, stays together. Enjoy having fun. Look for ways to play, explore, and discover. Spend time together. Communicate to your family with your time that you would rather spend your free hours with them than with anyone else in the world.

Go all out in your most important relationships.

3. Growing In Your Own Spirituality

There’s no guarantee that if you work in ministry that you are also growing in your relationship with the Lord. Most people who have never been in vocational ministry don’t understand this reality.

Charles Swindoll, who was the President of Dallas Theological Seminary, once said that seminary can be the darkest place on the face of the planet.

Studying the Bible in order to preach sermons, teach Bible classes, or disciple others is not the same as meditating on the Scriptures to feed your spirit.

Moses and Jesus said that the most important thing in life is loving the Lord our God. It’s essential that we habitually make investments in our own spiritual life – apart from what we do for others.

Dan Martell writes about four other pillars in his book, Buy Back Your Time. In our podcast, 7 Investments Every Pastor Must Make, we share the entire list of the 7 Pillars of Life and talk about why each one is so vital for us to be making regular deposits into them.

4. Investing In Your Physical Health

Without good physical health, other achievements and successes will pale in comparison. Investing in your health is a long-term investment. It's better to invest small amounts of time in consistent cardiovascular activity over a long period of time than trying to do something big in a short amount of time. 
It's also important to watch what you eat. Pastors are often inundated with fellowship dinners and lunches with congregants. Be intentional about making healthy choices.

5. Developing a Hobby

It seems like it would be counterintuitive for a busy pastor to take time to play racquetball, go on a hike, travel or go hunting. But engaging in activities that you enjoy outside of work can help you feel refreshed and rejuvenated. Do you have a hobby that brings you joy?

6. Getting Your Finances In Order

This is an area many pastors struggle with — having enough money and managing the money we do have. No matter how much (or little) you have, be sure you are investing in financial planning and creating wealth.  Entrepreneurship and the marketplace can provide pastors with opportunities to increase their earning potential and serve others. The time to start is now.

7. Finding Your Own Mission or Purpose

Ask yourself why you are doing what you're doing. Then ask yourself why again. And again. Be very clear on your mission in life — your purpose.

As pastors and spiritual leaders, we often find ourselves navigating the delicate balance between serving our communities faithfully and managing our personal finances.
The challenges of pastoral poverty can be daunting, but they are not insurmountable.
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April 16, 2024



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