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Issue #1: The Highest Priority

Feeding & Leading the Sheep

Every church deserves to be well fed and well led to the glory of God. Pastoral ministry consists of responsibilities that combines teaching, counseling, conflict resolution, planning, decision-making, fundraising, and more. Shepherds must learn the craft. A willing heart is important, but effective shepherding requires more than good intentions. It demands skills.

That’s what this weekly newsletter aims to provide.

The First Focus

As we seek to feed and lead others, we must recognize the first focus is ourselves. We can’t expect to lead others if we don’t lead ourselves. In fact, failure to lead ourselves can eventually lead to us forfeiting the right to lead others. This is how pastors fall into moral failures and end up disqualified from ministry.

This is why Phil’s tweet is important.

We don’t wake up disqualified from ministry. It happens with a series of choices that lead us away from where we should be. 

The hardest person to lead is the one that stares back at you in the mirror.

Today's Point of Wisdom

Prioritize your own spiritual, physical, and leadership health each day.


There are 5 things I make sure to do each day. I’ve memorized them with an acronym: PROWL

P - Pray

R - Read

O - Organize

W - Workout

L - Lead

**they do not have to be done in this particular order


Spend time each day with the Lord in prayer. This should be a given for pastors, but don’t neglect this time. Lift you needs before God. Seek dependence on the Lord throughout your day through prayer.


Read your Bible. Have a plan that helps you stay consistent. Don’t read to satisfy a daily requirement, but to saturate your heart with the love of God and His Word.

Read (or listen) other books. Read things that interest you: theology, history, biography, leadership, fiction, etc. 

As preachers, everything we read becomes potential for illustrations or wisdom in our teaching.


Write down a plan for each day (at minimum). I like to map out my week and rank the top priorities. But I check my list each morning before I start my day. The key is to give your time to the most important things you can be doing.

I fill this out every Sunday evening and update it throughout the week.


I don’t think pastors have to be bodybuilders, but exercise is important. If you don’t lift weights or run, go for a 15 minute walk.

There are physical and emotional health benefits to exercise.

Figure out where you are physically right now, then take a next step. But prioritize a block of time for this each day and you won’t regret it. This is a part of having the self-discipline of leading ourselves.


Every day we work in ministry is an opportunity to steward the leadership responsibility God has given us. Whether it is staff, volunteers, or church members, we are always engaged in leading people. More on this in future newsletters.

Final Words

John Maxwell famously said, “Everything rises and falls on leadership.” There is a lot of truth in that statement. But for pastors, we must recognize the hardest, and most important, person we lead is ourselves.

Prioritize leading yourself each day and everyone you lead will benefit from it.

Ask the Lord to strengthen you to lead yourself well.