The emotional, spiritual health of a pastor or church leader may be more than merely a benefit to the individual, it might be health that is passed on to future leaders in your church. Emotional Spiritual Health is, according to Hyun, investing in one’s spiritual health for now and for generations. When a leader is emotionally and spiritually healthy, it leads to other leaders in the pipeline mirroring their pastor’s behavior and health. However, the stresses of leading a church, or church planting, often can bring down the level of emotional, spiritual health that a flock, staff, and team need from their leader.
“The reason I am so passionate about emotional health is because I am so emotionally unhealthy.”
—Drew Hyun, Church Planter and Pastor of Hope Church Midtown, in a recent webinar.
Among the forces working against a pastor or leader’s emotional and spiritual health is the constant drive to do more, reach more, be more prominent, and dominate the church down the street. The word multiplication, by definition, demands the recognition of increase. Not merely in basic addition such as adding one or two, but multiplication where two becomes four, 15 becomes 30, and 100 becomes 200. In a continually evolving world celebrated by success, measured by the achievement of goals, metrics, and attendance numbers, emotional spiritual health can often become a torturous byproduct of continual reaching without resting.
At times, it’s more comparing numbers and attendance that fight against a pastor’s mental health, it can also be the sight of God working in other cities when you don’t see the same renewal closer to home.
“I often find myself comparing and getting jealous of outpouring happening elsewhere,” said Drew Hyun in a recent webinar on Exponential’s Frontlines show. “I wonder, ‘it seems like God is doing a real great work in Chicago, but not here. Then I think it’s because I’m not good enough, and I end up personalizing things in such a manner. So, I think there is that healthy balance of wanting something desperately and fervently, but also doing it where we’re detached from the result of that from my own personhood before God.”
It’s in these times, Hyun states, that God may be pruning to create additional growth in another season that will lead to greater fruitfulness.
Trying to maintain emotional spiritual health while leading an emotionally and spiritually health demands that there be a crossing of these paths. The intersection of emotional spiritual health and multiplication isn’t reaching numeric milestones but rather making ministry less.
“The false belief that I used to have about multiplicative ministry was, ‘you need to do more,'” continued Hyun. “And what I found is . . . that I need to do less. The ministry needs to be less about me. It can actually be a win-win. If I’m developing people, and I’m regularity taking a step out of the spotlight . . . the people behind me can take on more leadership.”
Rest periods are also an essential aspect of emotional spiritual health. Hyun, who takes a 3-month sabbatical every three years, uses the rest moments to invest in his marriage, his relationship with God and set aside time for silence and reflection. This rest period also gives the opportunity to the leaders behind his leadership, who can step up, manage, and get a taste of duties that may be theirs in the future. “It teaches me humility. Every three years, I have to do something within our church, where I am completely irrelevant, where I am completely disposable.”
The terms we use to define success might be different in reality than they are in ministry.
“The great effectiveness that our churches have for the renewal of the city is great,” said Hyun. “I think that it’s just sometimes those things get misaligned, which is where the prophetic voice of emotional health comes in . . . almost redefining those things.”