One of the issues we struggled with in deciding to start a church was, “How will we be spiritually fed?” It seemed paradoxical — how can you provide spiritual nourishment for others when you’re not being fed yourself? Unlike other believers, pastors don’t go to church once a week where they are refreshed, built up, and educated in the Word and spiritual truths.

Several pastors told us that it would not be an issue, but we had to find out for ourselves how it would work. And this is what I’ve learned. Asking a pastor how she will be fed is like asking a chef how she will eat. Have you ever known a skinny chef?

Pastors are fed by preparing and delivering messages. I’d wager that very few — if any — church members could recall what subjects their pastor spoke on for the last 4 Sundays they attended church. But I guarantee you that the pastor remembers. You get more out of learning and teaching a subject than you do just by listening to it.

Pastors also are fed by discipling each individual in the body — taking them further in their relationships with Jesus. That requires them to be able to speak knowledgeably and with authority on a variety of issues: from marriage to addictions, from finances to complex doctrinal points. Which means that in between preparing for Sunday messages, pastors have to research and counsel on all these other issues.

In short, staying fed is not the main issue pastors face. Rather, I have found that it is staying strong — enduring in the face of discouragement, remaining joyful in times of trial, and having faith in the midst of challenges.