The People Around You Are Important To Your Health

The People Around You Are Important To Your Health

We’ve been looking at various aspects of preaching during a world-wide pandemic in this blog.  Specifically, we’ve been exploring how to stay healthy as you face the stress of this time.  Today we are going to see that the people around you are important to your health any time, but especially during a time like this.

The Five People Around You

These Increase Your Passion For Ministry

Gordon MacDonald

Gordon MacDonald

Gordon MacDonald is one of my mentors, though I’ve never met him.  His books, however, are wonderful explorations of what it is like to do ministry.  In one of his books, Renewing Your Spiritual Passion, he describes five renewing your spiritual passion kinds of people that you will encounter as you do ministry.


  • The VRP’s   The VRPs are very resourceful people.  These are the mentors, coaches, and advocates who help you grow and inspire you for ministry.
  • The VIP’s  These are the Very Important People.  They share your passion for ministry, and are the ones who have influence in your ministry, and increase your spiritual passion.
  • The VTP’s  Very Trainable People are also part of your congregation.  These people are your volunteers or staff members who want to grow in their ministry.

All of these three kinds of people will have a positive effect on your spiritual passion, and your passion for ministry.  They are the kinds of people you think of when you think that the people around you are important to your health as a person and preacher.  But that’s not all:

These Decrease Your Passion For Ministry

  • VNP’s are the Very Nice People that you encounter in ministry.  They may like you, but they don’t join inimage of full energy your ministry.  They receive from you.  So these folks are pleasant to be around, but they basically take whatever you have to give.
  • The VDP’s, or the Very Draining People are the kind that sap your energy for ministry.  Before I understood this kind of person, I tried to make myself available to everyone–that’s what I thought a pastor was supposed to do.  But I found that the  more time and energy that I gave to the VDPs, the more they wanted.  I’m not saying this to be unkind, or to say that these people have less value, but I am saying this to point out again that the people around you are important to your health in both a mental and emotional sense.

Who Is Around You, Affecting Your Health?

So the big question is simply this: who is around you.  You will interact with all five of these kinds of people in your ministry, there is no doubt of that.  However, if you are in ministry, you will have some power to choose which kind of people you spend the most time with.  Will it be those who drain your energy and passion, or those who feed it?

The Pareto Principle

Years ago I learned about the Pareto Principle.  Here’s an explanation of what this principle is all about, which you can read more at this blog post:

The Pareto Principle (also known as the 80–20 rule, the law of the vital few, and the principle of factor sparsity) was developed by an Italian economist named Vilfredo Pareto way back in 1906. What it basically teaches is this: for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. He observed, for example that, in 1906, 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of the people. In his garden, 80% of the peas came from only 20% of the pea pods.

John Maxwell, pastor, author, businessman, leader, described how this often works out in the church this way:

  • 20% of the people do 80% of the work.
  • 20% of the people give 80% of the money.the pareto principle
  • 20%s of the people take 80% of the time.
  • 20% of the people invite 80% of the visitors.
  • 20% of the people make 80% of the decisions.
  • 20% of the people teach 80% of the people.
  • 20% of the time produces 80% of the results.
  • 20% of the programs give 80% of the growth.
  • 20% of the message gives 80% of the content.
  • 20% of the job gives 80% of the satisfaction.

Think about it.  Is this true in your situation?  If you are a pastor or preacher like I was for many years, you are likely spending 80% of your time with the people who ask for it, and they, most likely, are the energy drainers, not the energy givers.

What To Do About It

I hope you realize anew after reading this that the people around you are important to your health in every way.  It’s okay to not respond to every request, every emergency that the VDPs have.  Their emergency, I learned from a wonderful counselor, doesn’t have to be your emergency.

And you need to plan the time you spend with the energy givers.  When I learned this, I intentionally made arrangements to see people that I liked.  One I met for lunch each month.  Another I walked with once per week as long as weather permitted in MI.  A third I talked on the phone with each month.   I continue many of these connections yet today, though I am officially “retired” from ministry.  I do it, because these people men continue to feed my energy and my passion for the Kingdom.

So, think about it.  Who is around you?

We’ll continue this subject for one more post next week.  For now, here’s a creative explanation of the Pareto Principle.