Pastors Need Health Coaches: The Simplicity of Alcoholics Anonymous, the 10PM Text, and Why It Works

December 25, 2015 — 1 Comment



This image was first used from NY Magazine


Hi my name is Ricky and I am an alcoholic, just kidding. I’m actually a sugarholic, but that’s for another time.  Actually since today is Christmas I might have to partake just a little.

Seriously though, you’ve probably heard someone mention that comment before. Why? It’s notorious for “AA”.

In 1935 a New York stockbroker named Bill and a surgeon named Bob catapulted the seed in Akron, Ohio for the largest, most well-known, and successful habit-changing organization in the world… Alcoholics Anonymous or “AA”.

AA doesn’t work for everyone—success rates are difficult to measure, because of participants’ anonymity—but millions credit the program with saving their lives.

AA’s foundational credo, the famous twelve steps, have become cultural lodestones incorporated into treatment programs for overeating, gambling, debt, sex, drugs, hoarding, self-mutilation, smoking, video game addictions, emotional dependency, and dozens of other destructive behaviors.

The group’s techniques offer, in many respects, one of the most powerful formulas for change.

Alcoholism, of course, is more than a habit. It’s a physical addiction with psychological and perhaps genetic roots. AA meetings don’t have a prescribed schedule or curriculum. Rather, they usually begin with a member telling his or her story, after which other people can chime in.

Do you know what the secret sauce is to Alcoholics Anonymous? Do you want to know why it is so effective?

1. The twelve steps
2. A support network
3. A sponsor or “coach”

The greatest reason is that every alcoholic has a coach that knows when they don’t show up for a meeting.

FACT: Pastors need other pastors to help them.

Let me ask you something. If you are a pastor what do you do when someone in your church is drowning in debt or in a marriage conflict and comes to you needing help?

You might counsel them right? Give them a word of encouragement? Toss out a little prayer? You can’t do that for every single sheep though right? So what’s the solution? I would venture to say pointing them to a support network or what we call in the church world “small groups”.

So lets get back to you. Are you struggling in your health? Have you tried and failed over and over and can’t seem to find a way out?

It is time to practice what you preach pastor.

Listen to this interview with my pastor friend Brian Pounds that gulped some pride and joined Fit Pastors. Skip to the 15-minute mark and listen closely you might hear yourself.


In his book, Dangerous Calling, Paul David Tripp says this,

“Ministry is a war between the private and public divide. Doesn’t every member of the body of Christ need the ministry of the body of Christ, including the pastor?

Pastor, are you in a small group? One that you don’t lead? Do you let others minister to you? Do you have spiritual mentors? Does your church provide the means for care, refreshment, and counseling for you? Pastors need to be in community. They need the ministry of the body just as much as they needed to minister to the rest of it.”

Recently I heard these words from my friend Earl Creps,

“The greatest need for pastors today is affirmation and encouragement.”

Isn’t it time you find a tribe where you can take off your pastor hat and just be you? You know…. the imperfect you? The human you that struggles just like anyone else?  Give yourself the gift of health this Christmas!

Shepherds aren’t perfect either. We all need a coach.

I’ve even heard it said that family members of alcoholics will send texts at 10pm at night asking, “Hey where are you? Are you at home? Are you ok?”

If you’d like to find your supportive network, your personal coach, and join a tribe that cares that much about you click here. There’s room for you.

If you missed part one of this series on “Pastors Need Health Coaches” go here to read part one.

I leave you with these words from Marcus Aurelius,

“Like a soldier storming a wall, you have a mission to accomplish. And if you’ve been wounded and you need a comrade to pull you up? So what?”


Trackbacks and Pingbacks:

  1. Pastors Need Health Coaches: Why I Personally Invested in Coaching This Year « - December 29, 2015

    […] of a series called “Pastors Need Health Coaches”.  Click here to read part one and click here to read part […]

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