By Michael Cooper, pastor, Grace Community Church, Mabank, TX
The weight and pressure of another week rolls around as you roll out of bed to find that first cup of coffee. But this Monday is different. You feel “off,” like something is wrong. There is that lingering thought in the back of your mind to just stay home and veg out. You get on social media only to see your pastor friends talk about their amazing worship service, soaring attendance, and growing churches.
So you reflect. In your opinion, your Sunday worship was weak at best, and your sermon fell flat. You gave the invitation and the congregation was motionless. You scanned the congregation and didn’t see any visitors. Adding insult to injury, a few key members were missing—you were planning to pitch a new idea. To top it off, a grumpy deacon made a ridiculous comment about church finances and precious Mrs. Susie barked at you about the coffee being too strong. You feel like you’ve put all your energy into planning, preaching, and preparing, only feel empty. You feel inadequate. You might even hear the infamous word “quit.” The last thing you want to do is go into the office.
It’s Monday and brother, you’ve come down with a case of the Monday morning pastoral blues. Here are six steps you can take to fight the blues:
- Pray Even Though You Don’t Feel Like It. Sunday was tough so seek Him through prayer. Let your Monday be a day of consecration. Ask the Lord to remove that feeling of anger, fear, and frustration. Your flesh is screaming “no” but continue to press into Him. Even when you don’t feel like it, pray anyway. Confess your inadequacy and draw your strength from Him. He hears the prayers of His children even when you don’t want to speak.
- Read Your Bible When You Find It Hard. For most pastors picking up their Bible means finding a text to preach. If your Sunday sermon fell flat, the last thing you want to do on Monday is find something else to preach. My encouragement is to read your Bible for yourself. You need to hear from God through His Word. There you will find truth and life. You can see reality and wisdom. You will hear His voice and understand your calling: love Him and His people. Rest in His Word.
- Call a Trusted Friend Who Has Been There. All pastors need pastors to whom they can turn for encouragement. Pastoring alone is unhealthy and destructive. When you feel discouraged and alone turn to a trusted friend. Pour out your heart to them and be willing to receive their rebuke, encouragement, and challenge. If you’re a younger pastor like myself seek out older pastors who have “been there and done that.” You need friends in ministry.
- Don’t Start Your Work With A Bad Attitude. Practically speaking, don’t start working with a bad attitude. Wrestle with the Lord and repent before making a phone call to a church member. Examine your heart before pressing “send” on that email. Don’t walk into a meeting with a sour demeanor. Ask the Lord to grant you contentment in your calling before you have to make any pastoral decisions. If you can’t shake it, don’t worry; the work will be there tomorrow. But the motivation behind the work might matter more than the work itself.
- Be Honest About Your Blues. Brother, you’ve got the blues. You are a fallen human in need of grace. Yes, the same grace you preach to others about is the same grace you need in that moment. Be honest with your wife, staff, and even a few if necessary key church members. You don’t have to get into the gritty details of your soul but don’t play the “everything is alright” game. Be open and real. Authenticity can go a long way in demonstrating and receiving grace.
- Most Importantly Remember Who You Are In Him. Before you are a pastor you are a child of God. You have been justified, adopted, and loved through the death and resurrection of Jesus. Yes you’ve been called to love His people. But remember you are deeply loved by Him not for your “work” but for His work in your place. Your identity in Christ produces action for Christ. Live in Him and rest.
Honestly it might be the case that you just need to experience the blues in order to see the beauty of the moment. God might take us through the “how long oh Lord” times so we can embrace the “it is good to praise the Lord” moments with renewed affections. You aren’t alone in your calling. Other brothers have been there. More importantly, Christ is with you.
It’s Monday. Fight well.
Michael Cooper was rescued by Jesus at age 17. He is married to Kailie and has a little girl, Sophia Grace. He is the pastor of Grace Community Church in Mabank, Texas. Michael has earned his B.A. in Biblical Studies and is currently pursuing a M.A. in Theological Studies at Criswell College. He has written for Lifeway Church Leaders, Gospel Centered Discipleship, and Servants of Grace. He has a passion for expository preaching, sound theology, and the Dallas Cowboys.