What Makes a Minister: Soul Care

by Grady King

Focus Question: What energizes you and makes you feel alive?

This week we continue our discussion about another element that makes a minister – your soul and spirit.

Soul is about your essence as a person–your very being.  It is what connects you to God.  To care for your soul is to consider what energizes you and makes you feel alive as God’s child.

Your soul is not something you have, rather something you are. Closely related is your spirit which I am using as desire; that which makes you feel alive. In a sense, the two blend to form our spirituality: the essence and energy of our relationship with God.

In recent years I have come to peace with who I am and who I am not. I know now what I must do so that I can be alive. For me, I must have space and time to reflect. Because I am a minister and an extrovert, people assume I get my energy from being with people.  This remains partly true.  For the most part, however, I receive energy from being alone to read, think, reflect, breathe, muse, ponder and process ideas. As my friend Lynn Anderson says, “We must go deeper, not faster.”

The soul and spirit sense is what matters for longevity in ministry and being healthy as a minister.

I am comfortable with mystery and falling to sleep while praying. I am most alive publicly when I have had ample time privately. Burning the candle at both ends results in resentment, cynicism and anger at the very people I am to bless. In these times I feel like I am losing my soul and spirit. The soul and spirit sense is what matters for longevity in ministry and being healthy as a minister.  In essence, soul and spirit puts “fire in our veins and keeps us glued together.”[1]





Consider your soul . . .

  • Do you like you? Why or why not?
  • When are you most alive?
  • What energizes you in being and/or doing God’s will?
  • When do you feel God’s pleasure?
  • When are you most at peace and content?
  • What approval issues do you struggle with most?
  • What image best describes your emotional health?[2]

[1] Phraseology borrowed from Roland Rolheiser in work, The Holy Longing: The Search for Christian Spirituality.
[2] Peter Scazzero’s work, The Emotionally Healthy Leader unpacks emotional health in practical and helpful ways. Emotional maturity is essential to effective ministry life. (Zondervan, 2015)

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