Apparently the Holy Spirit Goes to the Gym

I would have put a picture of an overweight personal trainer here, but come on, that’s just mean…

Having been a member at a couple of gyms now, one question has lingered: why would anyone look to an out-of-shape personal trainer to train them? You know you’ve thought it. The trainer obviously doesn’t believe whole-heartedly in what they’re doing with their life. They don’t apply the very principles they’re telling you to apply. They don’t eat, breathe, and sleep fitness. It seems like they’re just in it for the paycheck.

Holy Spirit time: I wonder, just wonder, if anyone’s ever thought this about me in regards to preaching/pastoring. The question would be posed this way: why would anyone look to an undisciplined, ungodly pastor to train them in the ways of Jesus? The preacher obviously doesn’t believe whole-heartedly in what they’re doing with their life. He doesn’t apply the principles he’s telling me to apply or live the life he’s saying Jesus wants me to live. He doesn’t eat, breathe, and sleep Jesus. There’s no evidence that he has a prayer life or that he goes into the community to practically help others. In fact, there’s really no evidence he even loves the people to whom he’s preaching! It seems like he’s just in it for the paycheck.

The apostle Paul spoke to this reality that’s all around our churches and pulpits, namely, unfit and out-of-shape pastors: 1 Corinthians 9 [26] So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. 27 But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.

I’m trying to get in shape physically. But may we never get our priorities out of order. 1 Timothy 4 [8] for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.


  1. Bobby · February 24, 2011

    a pastor isn’t just some guy who teaches things to people. To earn a paycheck. A personal trainer can teach fitness very well without being a living example of that training. Of course the question remains: who wants to learn from an overweight trainer? Well that would depend on how well he teaches. A man can teach well but that doesn’t nake him a pastor. A pastor must exemplify a life of serving others by following Christ and THEN he can be recognized as an elder/pastor/overseer. Having a salary attatched to the title “pastor” doesn’t make someone a pastor any more than having a gym membership makes them fit.

    Good thoughts!

    • patricklmitchell · February 24, 2011

      Bobby, I especially like your last comment that having a gym membership doesn’t make someone fit. I knew that one well for too long! But more importantly, I don’t want to bear the title pastor and not actually be one.

      • Bobby · February 24, 2011

        I’m praying for you bruh. All too often the heavy lifting in ministry gets put on the shoulders of the paid pro. This should not be the case. May you equip the body so well you put yourself out of a job.

  2. Phil · February 28, 2011

    Thanks for the good thoughts. I think there are all too many pastors who end up working for the pay at times. I know I did this for a time. This is a good challenge for all of us in ministry, whether paid or not. Our lives must consistently shout out the glory to God, not to us.

    Hope you are doing well Patrick.


    • patricklmitchell · March 1, 2011

      Phil thanks for the comment man. It’s definitely difficult to work “not for the pay” all the time. But yes, it’s about the heart and God-centeredness.

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