Published on November 28th, 2016 | by Jayson Byrd
Escaping the Preaching Hangover
First off, I want to thank the guys at WV4G for inviting me to contribute here. I’m humbled at the opportunity, love the mission and vision, affirm the affirmation and denials and long to see a robust view of the Gospel and what I call “Big God Theology” grow in the Mountain State. Other than Gospel-Centered Theology many of my posts will probably focus on practical theology, particularly on nuances of ecclesiology and the culture of pastoral life. Here’s a repost from my own blog that is something that myself and I assume many other pastors struggle with on Monday mornings. I hope it’s a help to some of you guys’ that just preached your heart out yesterday and are sitting there with a cup of coffee in hand.
Monday mornings are tough for pastors and other ministry leaders. In the past, some preacher’s have called it their “preaching hangover,” Spurgeon addressed it in the “Minister’s Fainting Fits.” It’s amazing how exhausting preaching can be. There’s not really a comparison; teaching or lecturing, while tiring, do not compare.
“If any man will preach as he should preach, his work will take more out of him than any other labor under heaven.” ~ Charles Spurgeon
I remember hearing someone compare every hour of preaching to 4-6 working hours due to the high demand and stress emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually. Even though, relatively speaking, I’m still the “new kid” to this gig, here are some things I’ve found helpful in shaking the Monday Morning Funk or your “preaching hangover.”
1. Realize it is “ok” to be a little down.
It’s natural; it’s physiological; it’s human. Our minds and souls are housed in a body. There’s no drug like adrenaline. After the exertion of teaching/preaching/leading worship on Sunday, it is only natural that our bodies go through a “low point” chemically. Our adrenal glands can only take so much before it does an automatic reboot. It’s a natural part of our chemical makeup. Psychologically it’s called PAD (Post Adrenalin Depression).
Our creative God designed us with a variety of emotions with lessons about Him and ourselves to be learned in each one. Think of the breadth of emotions David expresses in the Psalms and the truths about God that he meditates on in each stage. Check out Dr.Ron Horton’s, Mood Tides for further reading about this.
2. Exercise physically.
This is healthy, and most likely necessary after a weekend that probably included a lot of study and many meetings. Perhaps, however, the most important function of exercise on a Monday is the endorphins released through some physical exercise that help to balance out the low emotions. The endorphins released from the pituitary gland function as the neurotransmitters that can get us back to the “feel good” state.
God designed our minds and souls to be housed in a body. Those bodies were designed to move, not sit at a desk for 50-60 hours a week.
3. Read something for your own soul.
There is a misconceived word picture that ministry is like a sponge where you load up your sponge and then wring it out on others. I even recall hearing the statement, “my sponge is full and I want to serve here in my local church.” A more suitable picture is that of a channel. Think of the hymn “Channels Only” –water only flows through the channel so long as the channel is connected to the source. Warren Wiersbe described it like this:
“Ministry takes place when divine resources meet human need through loving channel’s to the Glory of God.”
The day after one has spent himself in ministry I believe it is important to stay close to the fountain so to speak. I’ve found it helpful to read as much as possible to “fill the tank” so to speak (and misplace modifiers too:-). Since Monday is a few days away from the next speaking deadline, it offers a time to read in other subjects and topics.
4. Listen to good music.
Music is a language of the emotions. I find it helpful to just have music playing, especially on Mondays. It’s a passive way to have one’s emotions stirred.
5. Just do something.
Maybe a little too much Appalachian common sense here, but sometimes we just need to “get things done.” Down times like Mondays are a great time to knock off routine tasks that don’t demand much brain power or decision making. My wife and I use a task management app so we can “assign” tasks to each other (yes, this is scary), place them in projects and contexts and even assign time for completion. I like David Allen’s “Getting Things Done” method, it seems to work the way my brain does, so I try to use Mondays as a time to do “brain-dead tasks.”
6. Eat Good Food.
It’s amazing what a nice meal can do to your emotions. There’s no telling how many relationships a good steak has restored. The positive chemical response from the pleasure of food as well as the social interaction surrounding a meal can do the world of good to our emotions on a down day.
7.Get a Life (loosen up)!
It’s important to have a diversion from “routine” and engage in something you like to do for recreation. I would point out the difference and benefit of “recreation” verses “amusement” at this point. Recreational activities do just what the etymology suggests–they “re-create” the creative and mental faculties that you need to get back to your normal productivity level. Amusement, on the other hand, well, “A-muse” = without thinking, brain-dead things that leave you where they found you–typically in a brain-dead state on the couch.