Five Reasons Monday Is So Tough for Pastors

“I resign from the church in my mind about ten times a year. Every time it has been on a Monday.”

It’s a direct quote from a pastor at the Church Answers’ forum. And I’ve heard similar quotes many times.

So why are Mondays so difficult for pastors? Why do they have thoughts of resignation on this day more than others? I’ve heard five reasons consistently.

  1. Sunday is both emotionally energizing and draining. If that sounds like an emotional roller coaster, it is. There are many facets of Sunday ministry that are emotionally charged, but the sermon is the main reason. Pastors prepare with intensity and they preach with intensity. It is typically the highlight of a pastor’s week, but it is usually the most exhausting as well.
  2. Someone made a negative comment before or after the sermon. Some of the most vulnerable moments for a pastor are right before or after the sermon. The pastor is intensely focused before the sermon and typically worn out after it. When a church member selects one of those times to make a snarky comment, it usually carries over to the next day.
  3. There were a lot of meetings on Sunday. It makes sense. You already have a good number of the members available to meet. It helps them with their schedules. But it adds to an already exhausting day for pastors. When they wake up on Monday, they often feel like they played in a football game on Sunday.
  4. Pastors feel like they neglected their families on Sunday. In reality, they often do. They have little time for spouses and children on such a busy day. The following Monday can feel like a hangover of regret.
  5. They had a business meeting on Sunday night. Sunday evenings are the most common time for church business meetings. And church business meetings can get ugly. I spoke to one pastor whose church had a raucous business meeting until 10 pm on a Sunday evening. And he had after-business-meeting meetings until midnight. He was not in a very good mood on Monday morning.

Pastors, if you are ready to resign on Monday mornings, you are not alone. Don’t think you are an aberration or not in tune with the will of God. But give it a couple of days. Today’s sense of foreboding gloom will likely yield to a better disposition in just a few days.

And church members, pray for your pastors. Do everything you can to protect them and encourage them. Their Mondays can be a lot better if they know you care.

Posted on March 19, 2018

With nearly 40 years of ministry experience, Thom Rainer has spent a lifetime committed to the growth and health of local churches across North America.
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  • It’s not only Sundays that a wife (or husband, if you’re a lady pastor) and kids feel neglected. It can be the entire week that they feel totally neglected. The work that we do (both vocational and bi-vocational) is extremely demanding. I have been a senior pastor in three churches where I have had to be bi-vocational, and I can remember being at home totally exhausted. My wife and kids craving my attention, but I do have it in me to give it to them. The demands of the church and outside work can be overwhelming. But we, as a family, discovered that if we didn’t take a whole day as a family, to be a family, we wouldn’t be one for long. Our Sabbath was Saturday. I have young kids. Monday – Friday don’t work because of school, and Sunday is self explanatory, but Saturday everyone is free. Even if there is a church activity during the day, we would work it in as a whole family activity where we could just be us, have fun, and minister in an enjoyable way.

    Our job is hard, demanding, and emotionally draining at times. But one thing I’ve learned over the years (going on almost 10 years) if family isn’t the priority in our ministry…we will burnout faster. The family is our first ministry, the church second. If we can’t take care of ourselves, and our families, then we can’t take care of the Church that God has given us to shepherd.

    I have resigned on a Monday, and I’ve wanted to resign on Monday’s, I know and understand this very well. My heart goes out to many of you that have posted already. Don’t lose heart! You’re not alone! Love your families! Lean on the everlasting arms!

  • As a bi-vocational pastor, I work a warehouse shift 10 hours Friday and 12 hours Saturday and Monday (starting at 3am). Needless to say, Sunday is the center of an entire exhausting weekend. Tuesday is recovery day and we usually have specialist and therapy appointments for our adopted son scattered across Wednesdays and Thursdays. These are typically all day ordeals. In addition, many in my congregation feel the church is not growing very well because I am not out “working the streets” enough. The temptation to quit is almost a daily occurence. These articles have helped me not to feel alone in all of it.

  • Beth Bowman says on

    As a Minister of Connection, I want to add one more reason…I am out of words by Sunday night at 7:01 pm….and this is from a girl with an above average amount of words 🙂

  • Andrew Parks says on

    Helpful article. Thank you. I close our church office on Fridays. It allows me to give my staff two days off in a row (unless there is a ministry activity on Saturday). Hopefully everyone shows up rested and ready for Sunday 🙂

    • I see that as a growing practice.

    • Andrew, that’s awesome that you recognize that your entire staff is considered “on duty” on Sundays, as well as after hours during the week. As support staff, I am supposed to follow office hours. However, members feel that if I am at the church, I should be working. Just yesterday, I was approached 4 different times, walking into service, right before it started, during the greeting time, and as I was leaving. Wednesday nights are the same. Honestly, there are times I would like to skip church and just watch our service on TV. I try to ask people to contact me when I am back in the office, especially since it’s usually something I need to take care of there, but that just doesn’t work for some. I also get calls at home about various things and love it when they start off with, “I hate to bother you at home, but…,” or, “I didn’t want to bother the ministers at home, so I just called you instead.”

      • Bettye and other pastors and ministerial staff,
        To provide an alternate perspective from an unpaid, volunteer-only church member: we are working 40 -50 hours per week in our “secular” jobs which do not have the intrinsic perk of getting paid to “do ministry,” and then we choose to spend pur time preparing to lead or teach on Sundays, or stand at the door and greet, or answer questions, provide direction to visitors, etc. If members can work 40 – 50 hour work weeks at secular jobs not involving ministry, and then volunteer their time joyfully on Sundays, shouldn’t the paid ministerial staff be willing — or even expected — to do likewise?

      • Hi Dan,
        Very thoughtful question. I am a pastor now and have served as worship pastor, youth pastor and senior adult pastor at various times in my 28 years of ministry. If truth be told, for most of us, we usually put in closer to 60 or more hours per week and now that we are connected by devices 24/7 our time gets whittled more if we answer texts and social messages. That is why we so often have to guard our time off: because we so love what we do, we can wear ourselves down.

        In addition, those who work 40-50 and then volunteer at least get to volunteer away from the job that they have been doing all week. When we “volunteer” we are still working. It’s not that we don’t love our “jobs”, it’s that you have to have down time. You have to let your mind get quiet from the things that have consumed it all week long.

        Sometimes it’s necessary to switch gears just to refresh. Thanks for your thoughts and for taking time to consider the minister’s perspective.

      • I bet you’re great with your kids.

  • Ralph Hough says on

    As an associate and now as a sole pastor I have taken Fridays and Saturdays off because they were family days. For the responsibilities I have had, Monday is the best day for administrative follow up with guest and visitors, or at least insuring the information got to those who did the follow up! My elders suggested being off two days like everyone else even though I am on call as people need. Fortunately, most in the churches I have served have been respectful of my off office hours… I have had denominational leaders encourage us to be sure we take personal/devotional time for ourselves.

  • I began taking Friday evenings and Saturday mornings off when I began in the ministry so I could spend time with the kids on weekends when they were home from school as they were growing up . I have continued to do that even though I am an empty nester. Truth be told, though, I have seldom had the typical Monday hangover. I generally am energized on Sunday and it carries over into my Mondays.

  • Dusty Smith says on

    I work from home on Mondays. The office is very noisy on Mondays and I get little done, so when I work from home I use that time to write my sermon. This helps me get excited for next week. Plus the pace is very relaxing. Maybe my routine can help someone else.

    • Short Sledge says on

      Thanks for sharing Dusty, I do the same thing.
      I am able to reflect on the Sunday happenings and spend time in prayer for renewed strength and passion. Then my sermon prep goes so much easier.

    • Russell Hohneck says on

      That makes sense. Generally, my mind is still very active on Monday’s. I am still “coming down” from the mental high of Sunday and so I would read and prep for the next Sunday. Monday can be the most productive day in regard to sermon prep.

  • Danny Gilliam says on

    For years I have taken Fridays off rather than Mondays. Someone asked me why and I told them if Sunday was a bad day, I didn’t want to spend my day off rehearsing it in my mind. If Sunday was a good day, I want ride that momentum into the week.
    I have also repeated this phrase often in my mind over the course of my 25 years in ministry – “Never resign on a Monday.”
    Thanks for the article Dr. Rainer.

    • Another good plan!

      • In my first full-time pastorate as an Associate Pastor, I took Friday as my day off. My wife did home health physical therapy and Friday was a light day for her and it gave us more time together. When there wasn’t a Saturday ministry event we had to attend, it gave us a weekend together.

        Today I’m a bivocational pastor (translate that “full-time service at part-time pay”). It started with having one church but my secular work began to fade and now I am bivocational for two churches and do consulting marketing communications work. I take whatever day I can find for a day off.

  • Bill Pitcher says on

    The old adage “a good offense is the best defense” works for me. I have a Monday morning men’s group that is generally a high point for my week in ministry, it’s a great bunch of men who are always interactive and uplifting. I then spend the remainder of the day at church, available for those who may wish to meet with me privately.
    I plan for it, pray over it and fully enjoy it. I believe it keeps those Monday Blues away.

  • My former pastor used to take his day off on Tuesday. I asked him if he wasn’t more tired on Monday. He said, “Yes, but who wants to take their day off when they are too tired to enjoy it.” He lasted 15 years before moving on to another church with more challenges.

    • Sounds like a wise pastor.

      • I have taken Tuesday off for over 30 years. I use Monday as an administrative day, staff meeting, and counseling.
        It frees me up to relax on Tuesday knowing I have addressed everything from Sunday and provided direction for the coming week and month.

      • Sounds like a great plan!

      • I heard Steve Gaines comment recently – “Dont take Mondays as an off day, why depressed on your day off…”

      • why *BE depressed on your day off

      • I take Thursdays off. For me, it is important to rest after teaching bible study classes all day on Wednesday. Taking Thursday also helps me gear up for Sunday by doing nothing!

    • I was taught by a wise man to take Fridays off. If things work out well, you can get Saturday too, and have an actual weekend.

      Going in on Monday works out great for me; it’s a quiet day in which I can set up my week. When I was taking Mondays off, I always felt like I was playing catch up the rest of the week.

  • Clifford Ere says on

    I am a Bi-vocational Pastor and after service on Sunday and meetings, I still have to wake up on Monday morning to go for a 1 hour service at 6am before going to work. I ask myself, “What have I gotten myself into?”
    It can be stressful both on the body and mind, then I do feel like quitting.

    • My prayers for you, Clifford. I hope you can make some changes in your schedule.

    • Even a bi-vocational pastor (I am one as well) does not have to attend every service and every meeting organised by his church. People with no particular commitment to the church may find that strange…

    • James Craig says on

      I wonder how many pastors actually don’t have/take a day off or take them as the schedule allows, which I suspect means they don’t have days off on a regular basis? I suspect many pastors are on-call or take calls on their days off. Members know when pastors have days off and use that as a convenient time to contact them because they know where and how to reach the pastor.

      Perhaps a related question is how to set limits and boundaries for members.

  • I would say that another reason Monday’s are tough sometimes is because Sunday is often physically draining as much as it is spiritually and emotionally.

    • I am a church plant Bi-vocational Pastor for 10 years of a church with 300 people and have evening service every Sunday Night and meetings after that…. I use ALL DAY Saturday to study & relax, it starts after 12:00pm when my family leaves to stays at my wife’s mom’s house and I get to pull myself out of the world & try to let nothing to take this day away from me if at all possible… I wake up on Monday morning to go to work at 4:45am and have been for the past 10 years. Truly this schedule has changed my life 🙂 in a major way…

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