Most of the world mourns Monday because it signifies the end of the weekend. Pastors face a different monster on Monday morning. There is a tension that comes from wanting to start the week off right, but emotionally coming down from the day in which we give away so much of our focus, passion, energy and spiritual depth.
Every pastor faces the Monday hangover.
Pastors believe that God redeems even the worst of things. I believe God can redeem Monday. Our work is driven by passion and calling, so let’s aggressively approach the day of the week that often threatens to rob us of them.
No matter how the weekend went, Monday is always an opportunity for a fresh start. Practice these actions on Monday to start your week off in the healthiest way possible.
1. Talk to Other Pastors
Henri Nouwen says, “Too many of us are lonely ministers practicing a lonely ministry.” Pastors often live on an island. I don’t know if this is due to competitiveness, isolation or overload, but most pastors don’t have enough friends.
Build a network and have conversations with them each Monday. Take the mask off, quit acting like you’re OK and be real. You alone may be extremely gifted, but remember to practice what you’ve preached, “One may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A chord of three strands is not easily broken” (Eccles. 4:12).
Ministry is a long haul; relationships are the fuel for the journey.
2. Say, “Thank You”
Monday is the perfect day to thank someone for a job well-done. It gets their week started off right and it forces you to focus on people. Communicate gratitude to a few people each Monday. Thank them for a specific thing they did right. This turns your attention from yourself to others, keeps you from pouring over that one illustration that bombed in your sermon and positions gratitude to guide the rest of your week. Saying, “thank you” to others helps you see what you have to be thankful for.
3. Create a Plan
Monday sets the tone for the week. Yet it is the day that is most likely to be floundered through. Fight this by crafting a plan ahead of time. Create the right actions on Monday by creating great plans on Sunday.
I make a list of five things I need to do on a Monday. They could be phone calls, projects or conversations. Exactly what they are does not matter—what matters is that I ensure focus and productivity.
4. Reflect on the Good
Pastors who have the leadership gene naturally fixate on what needs to be improved. While this merits attention, you first need to think about what went right. Find the positive in each day, even if some days you have to look a little harder. There is good that occurs every weekend. Celebrate even the smallest of wins. Do not dismiss something small that God may be doing because you are thinking too small to see it.
5. Write Down the Bad
While focusing on the good is necessary, of equal value is making a list of a handful of things that need improving. Too many pastors never identify things that go wrong. Church leaders struggle to improve because they over-spiritualize the process, spin things positive to protect people and take mistakes too personally. Ministry deserves our best effort and our best effort is attained by identifying our bad efforts. Write down the misses while they are fresh on your mind so you can take action on them on Tuesday.
6. Listen to Other Speakers
You have poured out to your congregation on Sunday, so now, allow others to pour into you on Monday. Find a handful of communicators that speak to you and allow them to refill your tank. Don’t listen to prep a sermon or to sharpen your speaking skills, listen to nourish your soul. You have pastored, now you need to be pastored.
7. Get Physically Active
Emotional fatigue is often medicated with physical laziness. However, physical activity is often what shakes us out of an emotional stupor. I’m not saying that everyone needs to be a CrossFit junkie or have sub-10-percent body fat, but every leader needs to be physically disciplined in some way.
The mind often follows the body, so lead it in the right way. Never miss a Monday workout. Start the week by eating healthy foods, and shock your body into seeing the world from a healthy place.
Don’t sit around on Monday. Approach it differently. Lead well this week!
Kevin Lloyd is the executive pastor at Stevens Creek Church in Augusta, Georgia. This article was originally posted on Lloyd’s blog, LeadBravely.org.