Most people will leave the building saying, "Wow, that was a great service!" But there's one person who usually never leaves feeling that way...the pastor. Many pastors leave the building feeling depleted, defeated, and depressed. The only thing they hear is a little voice in their head saying, "You should have said this..." or "There should have been more people there..." or "You failed because no one responded today." He makes his journey home, mulling over these, obviously demonic, thoughts. He throws his tired body in a chair and Sunday hangover sets in.
I can tell you this is true because this used to be me every Sunday. The tragedy is, this is the norm for many pastors today...and it is a dangerous place for any pastor to be. Dangerous, because when a pastor is physically and spiritually depleted, he is also physically and spiritually vulnerable. The only people who understands pastors are...pastors. No one understands that his body, mind, and spirit are totally depleted after a weekend service. Most people don't know the adrenaline rush experienced during preaching, that crashes only seconds after he leaves the platform is taxing on the body. One study showed that thirty to forty minutes of passionate preaching is equivalent to ten to twelve hours manual labor in terms of how it affects the body and mind.
Notice I said I "used to be" this guy; but not anymore. Here's three things I learned that pulled me out of this dangerous place.
- Find a true pastor friend: You need another pastor who understands what it means to lead, preach, and feel discouraged at times. Someone you can be yourself with, express your frustrations, and someone who will give you wise counsel. Most pastors feel they can't share their frustrations...and they can't with just anyone. I have three pastor friends I usually talk to every Sunday after church via text, twitter, or phone. I gripe and moan or I listen to them gripe and moan, and then we encourage each other.
- Rest and relax: I'm not quite sure there's a way to escape the Sunday hangover; your body and mind has poured out to hundreds of people. Plan your Sundays around a couch, a remote, or hanging out at the lake. Guard yourself from being alone. Remember, you are spiritually weak, so you're vulnerable. Hang tight with your spouse, friends, or family.
- The Home Run Weekend: Never forget what determines whether or not your Sunday was a home run. Many pastors will measure success by how many people were saved, how many were in attendance, or how many seemed moved by the message. While all of those things are important, remember there is only ONE THING that determines your success as a pastor, and that is, preaching the gospel. If you preached the gospel of Jesus Christ, you hit a home run. Never forget that you are not responsible to save people; only Jesus can do that. Your job is to preach the message of Jesus Christ. You do that, and you win.
What are your thoughts on this subject?