Tim Tebow has identified Judah Smith as one of his "greatest inspirations" and urged his fans to read the megachurch pastor's new book, "How's Your Soul: Why Everything that Matters Starts with the Inside You".
Tebow, the NFL quarterback-turned-Scottsdale Scorpions baseball player in the Arizona Fall League, recently took to Twitter to share a photo of himself with Smith, who leads the multi-site City Church in Seattle, Washington.
In the photo, the athlete also holds a copy of his own best-selling book, "Shaken: Discovering Your True Identity in the Midst of Life's Storms", which made its debut last month. The book has is featured on four best-sellers' lists, including The New York Times, USA TODAY, The Wall Street Journal. "Shaken" was the sixth most-sold book on the religion nonfiction list, according to Publisher's Weekly.
Smith has been dubbed "one of the most influential people in sports today", pastoring the likes of Jarryd Hayne, Russell Wilson, and Bubba Watson. Fox Sports notes that the pastor also counts names like NBA star Kevin Durant, PGA Tour fan-favorite Rickie Fowler, and Tebow as close friends, as well as singer Justin Bieber.
Recently, Smith opened up about "How's Your Soul", telling The Gospel Herald the idea for the book was birthed out of his own experience with spiritual fatigue.
"When my dad passed away, I experienced a period of deep emotional turmoil that is hard to describe," he said. "That is probably the closest I've come to actual burnout. My staff and elders generously gave me an extended period of time to recover, and I came back healthier than ever. I hate to imagine what would have happened had I just tried to forge ahead when my soul was in so much distress."
He added, "I'm a very emotional person in general. Sometimes that is a problem-just ask my wife-but it does help me recognize when I am pushing too hard. I've learned to clear my schedule and take a few days off with my family to reset my soul. One of my life goals is to be 'better at seventy.' I want to finish strong, and in order to do that, I have to pace myself right now. I don't think any pastor or any person needs to experience burnout. Instead, we need to listen to our souls and allow God to keep us healthy on the inside."
Smith also urged congregations to allow their pastor to rest - or exhaustion will inevitably set in .
"Church members can allow their pastors to rest. They can let their pastors set their own pace. That might mean building a preaching team rather than expecting one person to always fill the pulpit. It definitely means giving pastors regular, extended vacations; paying generous salaries; and not making them carry impossible work loads."
He continued: "Professional counseling is also a good option. Again, that runs counter to what we've often heard or taught. For some reason we think a pastor has to be a psychologist, therapist, marriage counselor, child behavior specialist, theologian, businessperson, administrator, and more. Church members can allow their pastors to get the help they need to stay healthy over the long haul."
You can read the rest of the interview with Pastor Judah Smith here.