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I Am So Tired of Seeing Fat Pastors

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Can I just talk about something that will probably make a lot of you uncomfortable? I get on this soap box a lot and this is really one of my personal pet peeves. I want you to know right at the start that this probably won’t sound super spiritual to you. I don’t have any type of proof text for this from Scripture so if that offends you in any way, you should probably stop reading right now.

I want to speak specifically to my fellow pastors. Now, before you pastor types get all antsy and defensive on me, I’ll fully disclose something. I am not currently in a staff position at a church. I was a church planter but we never launched. Just felt like I needed to get that out up front ‘cause I know some will bring that up.

So to my fellow pastors…can you just do me, yourselves, your families, your congregations and the body of Christ a favor and get yourselves in shape?


I gotta be real here. I am so tired of seeing fat pastors.

Was that over the top?

Before you start throwing rocks at me for “judging” or whatever, I say these things, men, because I love you. Your families love you. Your church loves you. The body of Christ needs you and they need you to be at your best.

In the interest of full disclosure you have to know that I’m a fitness fiend. I’ve been an athlete my whole life and I currently work as a trainer at Iron Tribe Fitness in Birmingham, AL. I also used to own my own CrossFit gym. So like I said, I’m a fitness fiend.

In all seriousness, I kinda go off about this a lot and maybe I shouldn’t but I really think this is important. I think it’s important for three distinct reasons.


  1. Getting in shape will help you be disciplined.

Every pastor I know is super busy, whether planter or at an established church. Planters especially are busy cause a lot of those guys are having to work another job while planting so I’m not downplaying the busyness of a pastor’s schedule here. Been there, done that. But a lack of discipline can show up in many ways and one of them is letting ourselves go. I mean, we preach to our people and the subject of discipline inevitably comes up, right? So how can we honestly talk to our brothers and sisters about personal discipline when we don’t even have the discipline to stop eating junk and lose the weight that we need to? Discipline is super important for a pastor in every aspect of life and ministry. Let’s put fitness in our schedule. And find someone to hold us accountable to do it.

Like your wife. I’m willing to bet that your wife would like to see you eat less fast food and exercise more.


  1. Getting in shape will help you set an example.

Our first mission field, our first disciples are our families, right? Isn’t that how the saying goes? Well, if that’s the case, set the example for your family by being physically fit. Show them that our bodies are a gift from God and we should take care of His gifts. You don’t want your kids or your wife to be in bad shape, right? Of course not! We want our kids to be happy and healthy and our wives to flourish. Physical fitness is a part of that.

When I was a kid, I remember waking up early in the morning and finding my father in his study, pouring over the Word of God and on his knees praying. He set the tone for my life in those moments and didn’t even realize I saw him probably.

We are the leaders of our homes men. Let’s be the example.

And it also helps us serve as an example to our churches. Aren’t we supposed to be doing that? I mean, yes, we are to study and pray and preach and counsel and invest in the lives of our flock but we are also to show them how they are to live. Jesus did that with His disciples. He lived in front of them in a certain way. Paul did also. That’s why he could say that people within the church were to “imitate” him.

Set the example.


  1. Getting in shape helps you to be healthier.

One of the primary reasons I work out like I do (aside from it currently being a part of my job) is that I want to play with my kids. Last night I spent about 45 minutes or so rolling around on the floor with my daughter, playing chase around the house and wrestling with her. I did that because I love to play with my kids and I want to be around to play with them for many years.

Not only that, being fit improves your quality of life. Your time with your spouse is better, your energy level is higher, your sleep is improved and your recreation is fun. You can stop taking meds for your high blood pressure and cholesterol if you’ll eat right and exercise.

Listen, I’m not advocating that pastors be some kind of super athletes. I mean, if you are, that’s cool and all but that’s not the goal. Don’t we all want to be healthier?

I’m getting tired of hearing pastors make jokes about being fat and loving to eat. I think there are deeper issues at work in our hearts when we lack the discipline to not be a glutton and exercise. That probably stepped on some toes right there. Let’s be honest – There are far too many Christians in general whose gods are their appetites, be that food or drink or entertainment or whatever our idol of choice is.

My point is simply this: Our lives illustrate our priorities and our worship. If we are worshippers and followers of Christ then our lives should be marked by kindness, generosity, grace and many other things. And one of those things is self control.

Proverbs 25:28 says, “A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.”

I said I wasn’t going to proof text but I couldn’t help it.

Men. Pastors, let us set the example for our people. Let’s show by our lives and our lifestyle what it really is we worship. And if we find that our god is our appetites, let us repent and turn again to our Lord and Saviour, confessing to Him that we have found our solace in food and sloth rather than in Him.

Soli Deo Gloria!

AUTHOR - Scott Garrison

Husband. Father. Pastor of South City Church in Nashville.