I grew up in Texas. I’m not sure if you’ve heard the mantra, “everything is bigger in Texas”, but it’s true.
If you grew up in Texas, you’re quite proud of this. Texas is a state that is literally bigger than France and many other countries. Our cities are bigger, our malls are bigger, our state fair is bigger, our toast is bigger, and apparently a lot of the people are bigger too.
Consistently, some of Texas’ largest cities rank as some of the most obese. I want to be proud of my state and my people, I don’t want them to have that reputation.
I know there are a ton of excuses for not being fit, and for being overweight. I’ll name just a few.
- “I don’t have time to work out or meal plan.”
- “I have thyroid issues.”
- “I have auto-immune issues.”
- “I don’t have money to buy healthy food.”
- “I’m not married, I don’t have anyone to cook for me.”
- “I don’t enjoy working out.”
- “Our staff goes out to eat all the time.”
All of that may be true, but my pastor, Tim Chambers, has said, “we will always make space for what we think is important in our lives.” #truth
It’s kind of like finding out you’re pregnant when you’re NOT expecting to have a baby, and your house and car are already too small. No matter how you do it, you’ll make space because it’s important to you.
I understand there are legitimate medical conditions keeping some people from being healthy. However, before you go saying “that’s me!”, try not going out to eat for 30 whole days and see what happens. Also, you could give up any processed sugar for one month and see what happens. Remember, we will always make space for what we think is important in our lives. Okay, I’m getting off my soapbox. Now let’s talk about how this applies to ministry and your influence.
3 reasons a fit staff has more influence
When people don’t know you, they judge you by what you look like. If a new family is coming to your church, they don’t know that Betty Sue who runs your kid’s department has a heart of gold and five foster kids. All they know is what she looks like. And they will make judgements about her and who your church hires, long before they learn anything about her.
Just like your reputation often precedes you. So, do your looks. People look at your website
and make decisions and judgements well before they walk in your door.
This isn’t about looking like a model. This is about you being the best version of yourself because you represent your church and your God. This is about not being sloppy. This is about taking care of yourself.
Even if you’re in a season where you’ve faltered a little on your diet, get back on track and be honest about it to people. People are looking to be inspired. If you’re fit and driven and a go-getter, that’s inspiring, but so is being authentic. If you’re not where you want to be, admitting it and being honest about your struggle is inspiring in a different kind of way.
People are looking for someone to follow. One of my favorite Bible verses is when Paul says, “follow me as I follow Christ”.
People are looking for a physical person to follow
and apparently that’s been an issue since the beginning because Paul said multiple times, “imitate me”.
If you are leading and encouraging your staff to be fit and healthy, more of them will be healthy. If you are leading your staff to come to church looking their best, they will most likely match your level of excellence.
I wish these things didn’t matter, but we are trying to reach a world where they do; a world where 65% of millennials don’t go to church already. So, if by chance they come to church and see people that look sharp and put together, that will have value to them.
3) it’s about church growth
The human need always draws people in. This past year we did a series at my church called, “The Struggle is Real”, and you better believe people came out for that series. One of the week’s topics was about special needs families and people were inviting people out like never before. Because people care about the human need.
I know Pastor’s really don’t like that. They want their congregation to care about tithing and becoming a disciple of Christ and The Great Commission and inviting people to church.
But you know what people do care about? Their families, and their kids, and their fears and their health. And I know there are so many people out there that will just dog what I’m saying, but time and time again we’ve heard stories about how when you meet the human need, the church grows.
I think God gets that, in James it says, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” The Bible says religion that God is looking for is to take care of the human need and to set yourself apart.
In this postmodern world, strategies of the church have to be different. – Stacia Stall
Being healthy and leading people to be healthy sets you apart. People will notice you and look to you for leadership and inspiration. They will wonder why you’re different, and you will point them to Christ. “Follow me as I follow Christ”.
In this postmodern world the strategies of the church have to be different. Evangelism is not going door to door with tracks anymore, it’s not doing worship outside in the city. It’s targeted marketing, creative social media, and sermon series that are focused around the human need, that will draw people in and allow their lives to be changed.