“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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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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We have the privilege of being a multi-staff church. And with that we have our regular Monday mega meeting day in which we have all staff devotions which includes teaching and prayer followed by reviewing of the Sunday’s service, then planning for the next Sunday service, and then our lead pastoral team meets to address other specific issues. Once a month our entire pastoral team meets to discuss broader issues.
Meeting all together on Monday morning has I believe helped tremendously with the Monday morning blues. BTW we all get two days off a week, one day usually being Saturday and then a second day chosen by each of us providing we have pastoral coverage at the office through the week. This has worked well for me for the past 20 years at this church.
I should add we work 45 hours a week of which 5 hours are considered volunteer time just as we would anticipate of people in the church. I use my volunteer hours to serve an other faith community with premarital and marital mentoring as well as interfaith involvement.
I have been in ministry for a number of year-teaching, serving, youth ministry, however this June 1, I have been a Pastor for 2 years. I am bi-vocational, and I pray the Lord creates the means for me to be fulltime salary at the church soon, His will be done! I do so struggle with time management, when the needs of the church being so great and having three services a week! As well being a husband, father of three, one still in high school, two grand children. And this past year my father’s illness which ended Jan 3 when the Lord took him home. I know this is exactly where God wants me to be, and couldn’t imagine doing anything else!!!! It truly is draining, physically, emotionally and spiritually!! I so appreciate these posts, emails and the books you have written Thom! I am a Church member brought me to tears a number of times because of how real it was to me!!!! Thank you for allowing Him to use you to pour in to Pastors and those in ministry!! Being a Pastor is similar to being a parent in many ways, first off it’s something that can never be explained to anoyine that has never been-parent or Pastor. Secondly I have a congregation of about 100 and it’s like having 100 children. I am blessed and I do pray for Pastors and churches abroad, spiritual warfare is very real and at hand, we need to be prayed up!!!!! God bless each of you for answering His calling in your life!!!! Phil. 3:12-14 Let us press on brothers!!!
Thank you, Scott. I pray for God’s blessings on you, your family, and your church.
I am a full-time pastor serving a two-point charge and I’ve had my fair share of Monday morning ‘hangovers’. Not from alcohol, but from the ‘let down’ of all the work done leading to Sunday. Whether Sunday went well or not, Monday is the beginning of a new week of work leading to Sunday worship. I wonder if part of the Monday morning let down has to do with the huge emphasis we put on the worship service. For many churches it is, sadly, the end-all, be-all of church life. In fact, look at our terminology – we go to ‘church’ on Sunday instead of going to ‘worship’. So not only do we have our Bible studies, visits and meetings – we have to ‘squeeze them in’ during the week and make sure the worship service is top notch.
Another important point for me is taking off on Fridays. I used to take off on Mondays, but it seems everyone else wants to do church business on Monday. Plus, if nothing has to be done on Saturday, I will also take that as a day off (although I have Youth Group Saturday night).
Lastly, I’ve noticed lately that I’m getting worn down a bit because I have something every night. I’m to blame for some of that, but it gets a bit tiring not have a night with my family.
I am a pastor that work a over night job, i get off at 7 am in my pulpit at 9am, this is constant, i don’t take time off on mondays, i just pray harder and study harder on mondays. I am praying for all pastor and ministers that are having a hard time. Church members don’t understand what it mean to pray for your pastor, NOT PREY ON HIM.
I needed to read this post! I am realizing that Sundays are not a good day for meetings!! lol.. It seems during my meetings with my leaders on Sunday after a powerful worship service, that i am open more to attack. I will be sharing this insight with my leaders and wife and inform our secretary and set a reminder for myself that i WILL NOT be having meetings on Sunday after service :). Thanks a million
How sad that so many pastor’s feel like failures after Sunday, and feel so useless as to quit on Monday. Is this hyperbole, or serious. If its serious, the church needs to take a deep look at itself and stop destroying itself.
Sunday afternoon is hard for me. I usually feel like the worst preacher on the planet right after I preach. But I love Mondays! I call Monday the reset button of the week. On Monday, I have the attitude that I’m going to start fresh and do better this week than last. I approach Mondays with vigor.
I would like to add that Saturday meetings are not healthy in my experience. Particularly, if you have a board meeting on Saturday, at times, the residue can carry over into Sunday morning worship.
A pastor friend once told me, “I resign every Monday morning, but I re-sign by Monday night.”
When I was a seminary prof, I counseled the students to ask their churches for two successive days off once a month and three days off once a quarter–and to take them!
I did my DMin on this very topic. It’s called Adrenal Fatigue, H. Norman Wright called it “Adrenaline letdown.” It is all of what you all are describing, all week with everything you are doing and also giving energy to sermon prep, then the act of preaching. It is Spiritual, emotional and physical, so your adrenal glands are on full tilt. Then, usually around 2:30 – 3:30 you feel like you could melt into the couch, depression sets in, you feel washed out. That is when your adrenal glands are essentially “dumping” the adrenaline you haven’t used up. I found in my studying, that a slight change of diet Friday through Monday can help reduce the impact of this. Won’t fix it completely, it is always going to happen, but better eating and rest will help. And I agree with so many, after pastoring for 22 years, I always took Friday off, who wants to feel lousy on your day off (Monday).
Archibald Hart opened this door for me 20 years ago. Once I understood the adrenaline carryover it literally changed my ministry. I began doing light, mindless work on Monday and moved my day off to Friday. A game changer. Have often quoted John Maxwell, “I feel so lousy on Monday I don’t want to waste it on a day off.”
Im a new pastor but as associate for 14 years I’ve always hated taking Monday off. It put me so far behind on my week. Now I’ve started using Monday as my visit day. Gets me up and out and productive rather than the keyboard hangover.