Most pastoral problems like burnouts, backslidings, depressions, etc., begin with a neglect of the body.
Let me say that again in a different way. From what I’ve seen and experienced, most pastoral soul-care problems begin with a neglect of the body.
Soul care problems do not usually begin with channel-surfing or a click of the mouse, nor with wandering eyes or hands, nor with shortening or missing private devotions. They begin by neglecting the body, by denying or ignoring its many varied needs…and these other problems inevitably and inexorably follow.
But this is not merely a practical problem or a physical issue. This is a theological problem. Its root is a wrong view of God. And it’s not just a slightly wrong view. Its error is fundamental and foundational because its error concerns the fundamental and foundational truth that God is our Creator.
That’s the very first truth that’s revealed to us in Scripture. And it’s first for a reason. It’s because if we go wrong there, we run a great risk of going wrong everywhere else.
Now some of you are thinking, “Don’t insult me, man. I believe in God as Creator. I defend God as Creator. I fight those who deny God as Creator. I can even prove God is Creator. How can you say that my soul-care problems arise from denying God as Creator?”
Living like evolutionists?
Well, maybe we are not denying God as Creator with our lips, but some of us are with our lives.
There are lots of people who call God “Lord” but don’t live as His servants. And there are lots of people, yes even pastors, who call God Creator and preach God as Creator, but who live like evolutionists. Some pastors give the impression that the ministry is about the survival of the fittest! (OR THE FATTEST!)
God’s Creatorhood has massive implications for the way we live and the way we do ministry. Although we usually skip over that chapter in our Systematic Theologies and rush on to more “Gospel-centered” material, I’ve become increasingly convinced that we cannot be Gospel-centered unless we are Creator-centered. We cannot live as saints unless we first of all live as creatures. The soul and body are so intertwined and inter-connected that we will make no progress in soul-care unless we start with, and go on with body-care.
I’ll be speaking about Soul-care to the Plantr Network on May 10. If you are in the Austin (Texas) area, I hope you’ll come along and we’ll get a chance to fellowship with one another and learn from one another. My addresses will be on (1) Care & Maintenance and (2) Repairing the Damage. I’ll also be leading a breakout session on Modeling Soul Care.
Thanks again to my son Angus for filming and editing.