“Don’t quit on a Monday.” This is a common axiom among pastors, and with good reason. Monday is often the hardest day of the week for those who lead a church or ministry.
Whether weekend services went extraordinarily well or spectacularly poorly, pastors often wake up on Monday morning feeling incredibly drained—physically, emotionally, and spiritually. For many, this experience is consistent.
Sometimes, the “Monday blues” are somewhat mild. Other times, it’s all a pastor can do to get out of bed. In either case, pastors are often in need of some spiritual encouragement and renewal on Monday.
While there isn’t always much pastors can do to circumvent the emotional and spiritual ascents and descents that seem to accompany their weekly rhythms, there are things they can do to ensure that they remain healthy for the long haul in the midst of it.
Here are four encouragements for pastors on Monday morning.
1. Remember That Your Ministry Doesn’t Rise and Fall With a Single Weekend.
One reality that is often daunting for pastors is that Sunday is only ever—at most—six days away. If pastors put too much emphasis on every Sunday being “the best Sunday ever,” they are at risk of burning themselves out, and quickly.
But the fact of the matter is that the life of a church will never rise or fall on the experience of any given Sunday. After all, it is only one day of seven in the life of the church.
In fact, some of the most important ministry a pastor does happens between Sundays, whether that comes in the form of meeting with and empowering other leaders, visiting people in the hospital to pray for them, or working on establishing a vision and strategy for reaching their community for Jesus.
Pastor, whether you’ve just preached the worst sermon of your life—or the best, for that matter—your ministry will not be defined by what your church’s weekend experience looked like on any given week.
This is usually something your heart naturally begins to realize by Tuesday, when you’re in the full swing of a new week of ministry. Nevertheless, it’s something good to remind yourself of on Monday when you’re feeling at your lowest.
2. Do Things That Fill You Back Up.
For most pastors, adrenaline and anxiety about the coming Sunday often begin to rise well before their alarm goes off in the early morning hours before service starts. For many, the emotional ramp up begins on Saturday afternoon as they look ahead to delivering a sermon, leading ministry activities, and interacting with people who are looking to them for spiritual guidance and care.
Thus, by the time Sunday evening rolls around, many pastors have been on spiritual and emotional high alert for well over 24 hours. As they attempt to wind down, spend time with their families, and look ahead to the next week of ministry activities, they are spent. They’ve given all they can give.
While that is sometimes just the sign of a job well done, it’s also a dangerous place for pastors to be if they aren’t intentional about ensuring that they minister out of the overflow of their own spiritual life with Jesus.
A pastor cannot pour himself out for the benefit of his congregation if he has not first been filled up. Therefore, pastors must be intentional about doing things that fill their tanks back up.
This includes spiritual disciplines, such as Scripture reading, prayer, silence, and solitude. But it may also include other “non-spiritual” things, such as going golfing, engaging in a hobby, or eating a good meal with a close friend.
3. Remember To Listen to Your Body.
Sometimes, it can feel like your soul is running ragged when really you’re just at the end of your body’s ability to keep going. When it comes to staying healthy and productive in ministry, tending to the needs of your body can be just as important as tending to the needs of your soul. Spiritual life is not disembodied.