A Pastor’s Relationship with God and Self

Boundaries for Pastors and Church Boards – Part 3


Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4|Part 5 | Part 6|Part 7

“Of all the knowledge that we can ever obtain, the knowledge of God, and the knowledge of ourselves are the most important.”
– Jonathan Edwards, Works of Jonathan Edwards

“How can you draw close to God when you are far from your own self?…. Grant, Lord, that I may know myself that I may know thee.”
– Augustine, Confessions


Boundaries are all about where I end and others begin. The most important relationship to keep these things clear is in our relationship with God. Sin blurs the line between God and man. In our sin we reject God and put ourselves in his place. In the process we lose both God and self. The boundary of relationship with God and self is the most important of all the boundaries. It is the gate by which we enter into the freedom of grace and ministry.

Here are some questions to help establish this boundary:

Separation from God:

  • What properly belongs only to God? 
  • How is God different from me?
  • What does it mean for me to be made in God’s image? 
  • What names and titles of God signify his authority and sovereignty?
  • What does it mean for Jesus to be head of the church? Is this true in the way I do ministry?
  • What authority does the Bible carry?
  • What sins do I need to confess to God?
  • What do I need to continually confess before God?

“Your being with God (or lack of being with God) will trump, eventually, your doing for God every time.”


– Peter Scazzero, The Emotionally Healthy Leader

Relationship with God

  • What must I do to maintain healthy relationship with God?
  • What are healthy rhythms of prayer, Bible study, meditation, worship, solitude, silence, sabbath, etc.?
  • How can I have proper spiritual discernment in my life?
  • Is there room in my heart and theology for the mystery and wonder of God? 
  • What are the things that I must leave for God alone to understand?
    How do Jesus’ birth, life, death, burial, resurrection, and ascension relate to me?
  • How do I properly relate to Jesus? What images from the New Testament help me understand this relationship?
  • How do I relate with the Holy Spirit? 
  • What does it mean to have intimacy with God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit)?

 Personal Boundaries

  • What must I do to have a healthy body?
  • How can I honor God with my body?
  • Am I fully aware of my emotions? What practices will help me know and express my emotions in a healthy way?
  • What is God saying through my dark or unwanted emotions?
  • Who can I talk to when emotions become overwhelming?
  • What do I need to do to maintain mental focus and a healthy mind?
  • What am I doing to exercise my mind?
  • How can I shape my will to match God’s will?
  • What willfulness is holding me back from following Christ more fully?
  • What is the condition of my heart (spiritually speaking)?
  • How are my heart, mind, body, and emotions connected and interrelated? 
  • In what ways do I need to make peace with my past? Who can help me with this?
  • Where do I find my identity and self-worth?
  • Who would I be if I wasn’t a pastor, elder, deacon, pastor’s wife, etc.?

What other questions help you form boundaries with God and self? Leave a comment to help others.

Using these questions, begin to form a picture of what practices, spiritual disciplines, and times of worship you need to maintain. These can be shaped into a rule of life. Also be aware of what temptations and sin patterns operate in your heart. Make plans to work on one at a time. Pick the easiest one first.

In the next post we will explore the boundary of Relationships with Others.

Please, leave a comment below. I personally read all the comments and I try to respond within a day. Or we can interact on Twitter (@PastorsSoul) or on our Facebook page.

© Sean Nemecek, 2018. All rights reserved. Request permission.


Sean Nemecek, (M.Div. Grand Rapids Theological Seminary) is the director of The Pastor’s Soul, and pastor at First Baptist Church in Tustin, Michigan since 2001. A third-generation pastor, he grew up listening to pastors and their families talk about the realities of ministry. Now he wants to use this knowledge to bless the church. Sean is married to Amy, a poet and freelance book editor. Together, they have a 17-year-old son.


6 thoughts on “A Pastor’s Relationship with God and Self

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  4. Pingback: Boundaries for Pastors and Church Boards – Minimum Expectations (Part 5) | The Pastor's Soul

  5. Pingback: Boundaries for Pastors and Church Boards – Freedom and Job Satisfaction (Part 2) | The Pastor's Soul

  6. Pingback: Boundaries for Pastors and Church Boards – Relationships with others (Part 4) | The Pastor's Soul

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