FISHERS, Ind.—Hamilton Hills Baptist Church hosted a Healthy Pastors Network meeting for Indianapolis area pastors and wives. “One of the best things that you can do for your church is to meet the needs of the pastor and his wife,” Pastor Mark Neal told the group. “There are a lot of networks in the community, but we wanted to create a space where we can be authentic with each other, a place where you can talk about your mess and it won’t be used against you.”

This quarterly meeting is a time for local church leaders to meet for worship, prayer, teaching, and encouragement in a safe place. Topics of discussion have included marriage, finances, and spiritual journeys. “We don’t want to be the place where it’s all about perfection, but rather an authentic relationship with Jesus Christ,” Neal says.

For this particular meeting, Neal had invited Travis Ogle, senior executive pastor of Hope Church in Las Vegas, to speak. His three message points came out of his statement that Jesus, not ministry, should be the focus of pastors’ lives.

First, Ogle said, hurried leadership and healthy leadership cannot coexist. “Jesus was never in a hurry. The invitation of Jesus is not to do something for Him but to be in a relationship with Him. Love always takes time, and time is something hurried people don’t have.”

Second, Ogle said, the health of a pastor’s family must come before the demands of ministry. “We fail because we put demands of ministry over our families. God has not called you to forsake your bride for His bride.”

Last, he said, “The point of leadership is people, not events. What you do every day with people is more important than events. . . . Our church was great at events, but day-to-day we were not stewarding people well. We had to install processes that move people into discipleship.”

After Ogle’s message, Neal asked the guests to stand in a huddle while his staff and their spouses gathered around them. Neal closed the evening in prayer for the pastors, as well as their families and ministries. He says, “My passion is to help pastors and pastors’ wives know that we were created for a purpose.”

Hamilton Hills Baptist Church will be the site of the 2018 GARBC Conference.