Monday, November 5, 2012

Sunday Night Slump

Another weekend gone by.  As all good coaches or ministers we reexamine the game plan of the day.  What worked.  What didn't.  What can we use again.  What needs fixed.  Who needs encouragement. Who needs some direction.  Where can we improve.

Somewhere between nine on Sunday evening and ten on Monday morning most pastors are letting these and many other issues weigh us down.  Some of us look at that resignation we keep hidden in the drawer of our desk, to see if we should add any new reason for changing teams.  Others of us may search the want ads, just to see if there is a better job in some other field.

We can be honest, ministry is not all glamor and thanks.  Sometimes it is only one issue that is on the horizon, or one email that just arrived today.  Stress builds up, and we begin to question why we do what we do?

The reality is that we know tomorrow is another day.  In most cases the issues we face would be no different if we were in a different town, or a different ministry.  We know that God remains in control, even when our heart is heavy with concern over our current situation.

I find in these weary times it is best to do a few important things:
  1. Pray for strength, and pour out your heart to God.  After all Christ knew the stress of ministering and not getting through, and the pain of rejection and opposition. Be sure to listen in prayer too.  God often can guide us to a better mindset.
  2. Along with prayer I find writing in my journal gets the thoughts out of my head, and helps with stress.
  3. Never make any decisions, especially those that can wait.  It is likely in a day or two we will have a different mindset and view.
  4. Talk to a friend.  Too often as pastors we do not have the adequate support systems we need.  I call a pastor friend every Sunday night.  We share the joys and woes of the day.  We know the other is praying, and that helps to know we are not in this alone.
  5. Find positive work to start the week.  (Here pastors differ.  Some prefer rest on Monday, while others like myself feel that it is best to work through the slump.)  I tend to schedule more positive visits when possible, or work on things that can bring joy.  Sometimes we plan worship on Monday, and there is joy in going over worship music.
  6. Take a walk.  Sometimes the exercise will help with the stress.  Sometimes the change of scenery will give you a more peaceful feeling.
There are probably other things that could help.  However, the main goal is to remind yourself God is still with you, you are not alone, and know all things shall pass in their time.  We all know the stress can eat away at you, but in peace and strength we can carry on.

-Keep on your journey with Jesus.