According to the global health statistics, you can add five years to your life by taking care of your health. Being healthy is essential to perform a host of activities. However, the improvement of physical health requires radical changes such as changing your diet, reducing stress, and exercising.
Improving your spiritual health also requires radical changes. Paul, advising the young leader, Timothy, writes: "although physical exercise is good for something, piety is useful for everything, because it has promises of life for the present and for the future" (1 Timothy 4:8). Healthy leaders require the right kind of exercise.
1. Healthy leaders must exercise piety.
This means knowing when to say no to things that can destroy or stagnate your leadership. Things such as how you invest your time can make a big difference. It is important to discern what habits may be excessive in your life.
2. Healthy leaders must clearly understand what things require change in his or her life.
This is an exercise in constant self-examination of your public self and private selves. A good tool to understand this concept is what known as the Johari window. It lists four areas of a person:
- Public area: things everyone knows about you
- Hidden area: things only you know, secrets and intimacies
- Blind Area: character issues everyone except you knows
- Unknown Area: things no one knows, not even you
3. Healthy leaders must take action to implement the needed changes.
Simply knowing that I am overweight will not make me lose weight. In the same way, merely understanding what needs to be changed in our spiritual lives will not make us healthy leaders. Leaders need to exercise self-discipline and surround themselves with a network of mentors and counselors to help make changes.
Ultimately, the healthy leader must recognize that any strategy to achieve healthy leadership that ignores the spiritual nature of the human being is destined for failure. Jesus told his disciples, "He who abides in me, as I in him, will bear much fruit; You cannot do anything apart from me. (Jn 15:5, NIV)
Spiritual vitality must be cultivated through spiritual disciplines and training. I believe healthy leadership can best be developed in the context of community. Healthy leaders create healthy churches and healthy communities.
To this end, Union Baptist Association (UBA) offers a great 2-year training called LeadersEdge. The vision of LeadersEdge is to develop pastoral and congregational leaders who demonstrate spiritual vitality, personal credibility, healthy relationships, and the ability to lead through a process of transformational change that achieves God’s ordained purposes. (For more information on LeadersEdge training firstname.lastname@example.org)