Pastors, if you are anything like me, Mondays can be tough. Tough in many ways. For starters, there is the physical recuperation that needs to take place – especially the more worship services you offer. Besides that, there are a couple of things that impact my Monday norm.
There is a mental side that requires recuperation.
I am my own worst critic at times. I spend Sunday afternoons and by Monday thinking back to the Sunday service and before you know it, I am ready to throw in the towel and scream “no mas”. I think about the sermon and how I could have said more about a certain scripture. I should have elaborated and “unpacked” that passage better. I should have used this other illustration… that would have made things more clear. I could have been more humorous. I should have been more serious. I may have offended someone by saying ________. Round and round I go.
Quite honestly, the Sunday attendance has a way of playing on my mind.
I can remember when I was in Bible college. I can’t tell you how many folks told me, “let me know when you start pastoring – I’m going to attend your church.” With all those well-wishers, one couldn’t help but think “man, I must be anointed!” I mean, I’ve always heard of people who started churches and hundreds or even thousands of people were attending on day #1!
Instead of being the next Steven Furtick or Chris Hodges, I found myself in an average size church thinking – “what have I gotten myself into?” and “what happened to all those people who promised they would come?” I was in what Tony Morgan calls an “Up the Middle” kind of church. It wasn’t going to be a megachurch overnight. It wasn’t going to even be a mini megachurch in the event those well-wishers all showed on the same day. No, this was going to be work! If progress were to be made, it would take effort, passion, and commitment.
There is good news for those who can relate to my Monday Morning Blues.
1. You are not alone.
You may feel alone but trust me you are not! Get around some folks that encourage and inspire you. If you find that you are always the smartest one in your group… you may need a new group to hang out with. When you find that friend, that peer group, or even a ministerial network/ association that you can connect with on a regular basis, start encouraging them. You will reap encouragement and support in return. Learn to lean on them since these folks can relate to what you are experiencing.
2. Free yourself from the crazy expectations
When you answered the call to ministry, I am willing to bet the Lord never promised you a megachurch on day 1! Stop thinking solely about the attendance numbers. They are just one way of determining the health of a church. Other things you can look at are: What percentage of the church are involved in small groups? What percentage of the church are involved in a church ministry? What percentage are inviting their friends and family to church? I could go on and on but suffice it to say – counting butts in seats isn’t the sole determining factor in gauging church health.
By the way, You ever wonder what the average church attendance is within the USA? Here are some stats from www.ThomRainer.com:
- 50% of all churches in America average less than 100 in worship attendance.
- 40% of all churches in America average between 100 and 350 in attendance.
- 10% of all churches in America average more than 350 in attendance.
3. Do all you can and then rest in that fact.
Are you showing up filled up each Sunday? Are you raising up leaders in the church? Are you training ministry leaders / 5 Fold ministry leaders? Are you doing your best to make disciples? Are you? OK… then stop with the fretting! Stop with the worry! Stop with the self-imposed anxiety! Remain faithful and stop contemplating quitting every Monday!
Now if you are playing X-box all day or waking up at 2 pm to start your day, then you have other issues 🙂 My guess, however, is that you came into this wanting to make a difference and you are sincerely trying. You are truly doing your best. Rest in that!
Remember this is God’s church, and He cares more about it than even you do.