Growing as a Leader: Physically

It doesn’t matter if you pastor a church, work in a high-pressure corporate environment, sell real estate, or toil as a full-time parent: the pace of our information-driven, globally-connected, twenty-first-century society forces us to accelerate down the tracks of modern life – and many of us feel dangerously close to flying off the rails.

We are multitasking ourselves into oblivion just to keep up. We push, we strive, and we overcome!

And then we collapse.

Can we keep this up?

Since the outward forces that exert stress on us are unlikely to disappear, our only choice is to look inward at ways we can better adapt to our environment.

Is it possible that we can “grow” to deal with the pressures we find ourselves in?

There is a short but powerful scripture passage that can give us guidelines in this area. Luke 2:52 says, “Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.” (NIV)


As leadership consultants and executive trainers, Bonnie St. John and Allen P. Haines have heard the same complaints from clients for years; periodic burnout, lack of focus and low energy. So they dug into the latest research on neuroscience, psychology and physiology looking for big answers.

Instead they found small answers; proof that small adjustments in daily routines, including thought patterns, food and drink, rest and movement can fight the forces that sap our energy and store focus and drive. They call these amazing efficient restorative techniques “micro-resilience.”

Thousands of men and women from all walks of life have already found effortless ways to incorporate these little changes into the busiest of schedules. Dozens of entertaining anecdotes from real people using micro-resilience demonstrate that when our brains fire faster, our energy increases and we can cope with almost any surprise, pressure or crisis.

A SIMPLE SOLUTION – Micro-Resilience by Bonnie St. John and Allen Haines

When thinking of growing physically, it’s easy to gravitate toward the big ideas of eating healthy, getting plenty of exercise, and having a healthy sleep pattern. There’s nothing wrong with those actions – they are the solid foundation to having a healthy body.

But these are macro-resilient patterns, a set of more time-consuming habits that give us increased energy and better health over the long term. There is really no substitute for these critical building blocks of physical and mental health.

But macro processes like the above examples take weeks and months of diligent, consistent work to show results – time that many of us fail to plan for in our schedules.

Micro-resilience, on the other hand, takes almost no time, and works almost immediately. Micro-resilience techniques can make all the difference in your day.

And one way to start is to take a well-timed drink of water.

The human capacity for complex thinking and subtle social interaction is as dependent on a consistent supply of high-performance fuel and fluids as a Ferrari.

Our micro-resilience perspective on hydration differs from the traditional point of view by putting attention on when you drink water in addition to how much. When you’re under stress or a tight deadline, that trusty water bottle is often relegated to the far side of the desk and ignored. But these are the times when you need that hydration the most.

If we get busier than usual and let our water habits fall by the wayside for a few hours or a full day, science tells us that our ability to hit our targets will decline.

Because your brain is made up of more than 70 percent water, and the rest of our body is closer to 60 or 65 percent, you may not even feel thirsty before your brain begins to experience a hydration shortage. Drinking water before feeling thirsty will help maintain optimal body hydration status.

Hydration affects our moods as well. The most consistent effects of mild dehydration include fatigue, confusion, and anger. Poor overall physical health makes a resilient life very difficult, too. Dehydration can have a negative effect on the kidneys, heart, digestion, and skin.

Bonnie St. John and Allen Haines, Micro-Resilience


According to Micro-Resilience authors Bonnie St. John and Allan Haines, the following tips can make hydration fun and appealing:

  • Keep a bottle of water on your desk and another in your car.
  • When you feel hungry, drink a glass of water first. Mild hunger and mild thirst can feel similar.
  • Ask for water in restaurants if they don’t offer it right away.
  • Drink a glass of water before and after every meal, covering at least six glasses per day and helping you reduce your overall food intake.
  • Match each ounce of the caffeinated beverages you drink with an ounce of water to offset their dehydrating effects.
  • Time your hydration so that you drink the majority of your water during the most difficult and challenging part of your day.

If you are not currently practicing the tips above, make the decision to do so over the next few weeks. After you have integrated them into your regular routine for at least two weeks consistently, review how you feel, noting any improvements.

Excerpt taken from SUMS Remix 105-2, released November 2018.


This is part of a weekly series posting excerpts from one of the most innovative content sources in the church world: SUMS Remix book excerpts for church leaders.

SUMS Remix takes a practical problem in the church and looks at it with three solutions; each solution is taken from a different book. Additionally, a practical action step is included with each solution.

As a church leader you get to scan relevant books based on practical tools and solutions to real ministry problems, not just by the cover of the book. Each post will have the edition number which shows the year and what number it is in the overall sequence. (SUMS Remix provides 26 issues per year, delivered every other week to your inbox). 

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Bob Adams is Auxano's Vision Room Curator. His background includes over 23 years as an associate/executive pastor as well as 8 years as the Lead Consultant for a church design build company. He joined Auxano in 2012.

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— Abel Singbeh
comment_post_ID); ?> Thank you Ed for sharing your insights into the Church Growth Movement. I have my reservations with Church Growth models because it has done more damage than good in the Body of Christ. Over the years, western churches are more focused on results, formulas and processes with little or no emphasis on membership and church discipline. Pastors and vocational leaders are burnt out because they're overworked. I do believe that the Church Growth model is a catalyst to two destructive groups: The New Apostolic Reformation and the Emerging Church. Both groups overlap and have a very loose definition. They're both focus on contemporary worship, expansion of church brand (franchising), and mobilizing volunteering members as 'leaders' to grow their ministry. Little focus on biblical study, apologetics and genuine missional work with no agenda besides preaching of the gospel.
— Dave
comment_post_ID); ?> Thank you for sharing such a good article. It is a great lesson I learned from this article. I am one of the leaders in Emmanuel united church of Ethiopia (A denomination with more-than 780 local churches through out the country). I am preparing a presentation on succession planning for local church leaders. It will help me for preparation If you send me more resources and recommend me books to read on the topic. I hope we may collaborate in advancing leadership capacity of our church. God Bless You and Your Ministry.
— Argaw Alemu

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