I think all average pastors struggle with the Monday morning blues. I know I do. I am my biggest critic. No matter how well my service went, I tend to focus on the what went wrong. I am not sure I have figured out yet exactly what measure I use for determining whether or not a service was “good.” Sometimes it is based on how I feel about my sermon. Sometimes it is the comments I get. Many times it is whether my expectations were met. And frankly, many times I compare our service with how other churches did that morning. If they had more baptisms or they had something special, then I tend not to feel as good about our service. I know, pathetic, right? But, it is the reality that most average pastors deal with.
Here are a few things I do for my Monday blues:
1. Listen to my sermon – My sermons never turn out how I think they turned out. When I am speaking, I find myself criticizing and second guessing my sermon even as I am saying it. And I carry those doubts with me throughout Sunday afternoon and evening. So on Monday morning the first thing I do is listen to my sermon. I usually find out I said things better than I thought I did. God’s Spirit did help me preach his word! (Imagine that!) Sure, there are still things I wished I had done better, but for the most part I feel much better about the service after I hear the sermon. I also learn from it things to avoid in the future.
2. Focus on what WE did – In any service there were dozens of pieces that come together to make a service happen. Even if the song I picked didn’t fit right, or the video had trouble playing or I didn’t get a response to my message, that does not mean it wasn’t a good service. The thing I ask myself is, “Is church about about Me and how well I did? Or is it about what we accomplished together?” Instead of focusing on what you feel like didn’t go well, focus on how your nursery worker held babies or how your greeter showed up and hugged people. Focus on the faithful member that came for pre-service prayer time. Ask yourself, “What went well?” When I take an inventory of things our church did well, I have a more accurate picture of how “good” our service really was.
3. Don’t obsess – When coaches watch game film, they see the missed blocking assignments, the blown routes and the miss reads by the QB. Even if they scored on the play, the coaches are not happy with how the play went. But all the fans saw was the play that resulted in a score. They are happy; the coaches are frustrated. Same goes for church. What I see and what my congregation sees is not the same thing. They don’t notice the minutia of what didn’t work right. And for the most part, they wouldn’t care if they did. Bad announcements, the wrong choice of song, wrong times in the bulletin, and other things that drive us crazy, people in general don’t notice or don’t care. If it happens often, it is a problem that needs to be fixed. But don’t obsess over the little things. There are many more things you did right yesterday. Focus on those.
As I look back on our service yesterday, I know it was a success. A lot of things went well yesterday. And a lot of people made it happen. If you can focus on what you did right, you will see what an amazing thing the body of Christ is in the local church. Kick those Monday Blues by focusing on those things before you decided if you had a “good service.”