If Monday were shoes, they'd be Crocs.
Not exactly the coolest of shoes.
Not exactly the best of days.
Most of the world mourns Monday because it means their weekend is over. Pastors face a different monster on Monday morning. There is a tension that comes from wanting to start the week of right, but emotionally coming down from the day where we give away all of our focus, passion, energy and spiritual depth.
Every pastor faces the Monday hangover.
Pastors believe that God redeems even the worst of things. I believe He can redeem Monday. Our work is driven by passion and calling, let's aggressively approach the day of the week where fatigue wants to rob us of them.
No matter how the weekend went, Monday is always an opportunity for a fresh start. Practice these actions on Monday to start your week off healthy.
Talk to other pastors
Henri Nouwen says, "Too many of us are lonely ministers practicing a lonely ministry." Pastors often live on an island. I don't know if it's due to competitiveness, isolation or overload, but most pastors don't have enough friends. Build a network and have conversations with them each Monday. Take the mask off, quit acting like you're ok and be real. You alone may be extremely gifted, but remember to practice what you've preached, "One may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A chord of three strands is not easily broken." Ministry is a long-haul; relationships are the fuel for the journey.
Say "Thank You"
Monday is the perfect day to thank someone for a job well done. It gets their week started off right and it forces you to focus on people. Communicate gratitude to a few people each Monday. Thank them for a specific thing they did right. This turns your attention to others, keeps you from pouring over that one illustration that bombed in your sermon, and positions gratitude to guide the rest of your week. Saying "thank you" to others helps you see what you have to be thankful for.
Work a plan
Monday sets the tone for the week. Yet it is the day that is most likely to be floundered through. Fight this by crafting a plan ahead of time. Create the right actions on Monday by creating great plans on Sunday. I make a list of 5 things I need to do on a Monday. They could be phone calls, projects or conversations. What they are does not matter, what matters is that I ensure focus and productivity.
Reflect on the good
Pastors who have the leadership gene naturally fixate on what needs to be improved. While this merits attention, you first need to think about what went right. Find the positive in each day, even if some days you have to look a little harder. There is good that comes of every weekend. Celebrate even the smallest of wins. Do not dismiss something small that God may be doing because you are thinking too small to see it.
Write down the bad
While focusing on the good is necessary, of equal value is making a list of a handful of things that need improving. Too many pastors never identify things that go bad. Church leaders struggle to improve because they over-spiritualize the process, spin things positive to protect people and take mistakes too personally. Ministry deserves our best effort and our best effort is attained by identifying our bad efforts. Write down the misses while they are fresh on your mind so you can take action on them on Tuesday.
Listen to other speakers
You have poured out to your congregation on Sunday, allow others to pour into you on Monday. Find a handful of communicators that speak to you and allow them to refill your tank. Don't listen to prep a sermon or to sharpen your speaking skills, listen to nourish your soul. You have pastored, now you need to be pastored.
Get physically active
Emotional fatigue is often medicated with physical laziness. However, physical activity is often what shakes us out of an emotional stupor. I'm not saying that everyone needs to be a Crossfit junkie or have sub 10% body fat, but every leaders needs to by physically disciplined. The mind often follows the body, so lead it in the right way. Never miss a Monday workout, start the week by eating healthy foods, and shock your body into seeing the world from a healthy place.
Don't sit around this Monday. Approach it different. Lead well this week!
Kevin Lloyd is a coach for CourageToLead.com. He currently serves as the Executive Pastor at Stevens Creek Church in Augusta, Georgia and is is the founder of LeadBravely.org which serves as a hub for practical leadership.