Mondays are notoriously difficult for pastors. If you are not a pastor, pray for your pastor today as you read through this post. If you are a pastor, listen to the words of pastor Jared Wilson as he describes the structure of his Mondays, along with the personal challenges he faces as another week begins. Here’s what he writes:
The fatigue begins for me as soon as the sermon is done. More often than not, I have “left it all out on the field.” But the gathering is not over. There are people to greet, visitors to meet, often times theological questions to answer and short counseling sessions to conduct. Many times there are impromptu meetings or executive decisions to be made.
At Middletown Springs Community Church, we enjoy Soup Sunday in the fellowship hall from the weekend after Thanksgiving until Easter every year. I am an introverted personality, which does not mean I don’t enjoy being with people or that I’m not good at interacting with people, only that it is work to do so. Extroverts tend to fill up in social settings; introverts tend to empty. . . .
Many pastors take Mondays off because of the Sunday hangover. I do not. It is my worst day, so I refuse to give it to my family. Instead I work through it. It is a slog. Monday morning is when the email inbox and telephone mailbox are thickest. Monday morning is when people still have questions or concerns or criticisms about Sunday. (They are starting their week full, remember? They came to church for the pick-me-up, and most of them got it.) Like everybody else on Monday mornings, pastors are taking stock of what all must be accomplished in the week ahead. But Sunday was not a day of filling up for pastors, but pouring out.
On Monday mornings I enter my office and find that, like Sisyphus, the stone I spent the week previous pushing up the hill lay at the bottom again, ready for another go. Monday morning I must pastor. But what kind of must?
I am faced with this challenge: will I shepherd under compulsion, or willingly as God would have me?
My first instinct is to make my shepherding contingent on my energy level. But really, my ability to exercise oversight willingly flows from my vision. No, not a vision for an “awesomely bold” church — at least, not at first — but of my God and for the flock of God that is among me.
How we see God on Monday morning will affect whether we oversee his church willingly or under compulsion. And how we view the people in our church will affect whether we oversee them willingly or under compulsion.
Our omnipresent Savior is waiting for me in the office on Monday morning. “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest,” he says (Matthew 11:28). I am plum tuckered on Monday morning. Ample temptation to wallow. But Jesus promises rest. I may be a shell of a pastor at this time each week but God is no less God. His might is no less mighty. His gospel is no less powerful. His reach is no less infinite. His grace is no less everlasting. His lovingkindness is no less enduring.
My first thoughts on Monday mornings are to my fatigue and all I must do, but I must push them into thoughts of Christ, all he is and all he has done. There lies the vision that compels my will.
The content in this excerpt was originally delivered in a message for pastors (“The Pastor’s Justification”) and will appear in Jared’s future book by the same name. This excerpt is pulled from the first draft and is posted on the DG blog by permission of the author.
Recent posts from Tony Reinke —