Most preachers have experienced the Monday Morning Blues (MMBs). “Blues” is a euphemism for the regret, feelings of failure, emotional exhaustion, and discouragement that often surfaces in the preacher after the preaching event. These blues drain the joy from the preacher. When the drain occurs, the preacher becomes vulnerable to various temptations. Isolation and idleness is a dangerous combination. “It is not good for a person to be alone” (Gen. 2:18a), especially if the person happens to be a preacher fighting the MMBs.
The following strategy can help the preacher win their battle against the blues.
Pray About the Sermon
One of the most helpful habits I adopted to overcome the MMBs was praying as soon as possible after the preaching event. After conversing and praying with people following the worship service and before heading home, I would find a quiet place in the church to pray. My favorite spot was a little room off to the side of the worship platform. I would hit my knees and simply thank God for the chance to preach. I asked him to use my less than perfect sermon to inspire his people to love and serve him better. There were times when I asked God’s forgiveness for something I failed to say. Usually, I asked his forgiveness for something I did say but probably shouldn’t have said. I released my regrets and concerns to God instead of allowing them to fester and grow until Monday morning. Admittedly, praying didn’t take away the MMBs entirely, but in ways I don’t fully understand it diminished their power.
Work on Mondays
Working on Mondays may seem like a counter-intuitive way to fight the blues. However, having office hours forces you to get out of bed and get going. This way you don’t have time to get absorbed in and swallowed up by regrets from the day before.
For years I took Mondays off, as most pastors do. This pattern actually allowed more space for the blues to surface and devour me. At times, I would stay home alone and pull the covers over my head, immersed in depression. That’s a bad idea. Go to work on Monday. If you show up for work you can see that God is still at work too, building the church through us despite our inadequacies and less than stellar sermons.
If you do take my advice and work on Mondays, do fun and productive tasks. Organize your library. Clean your office. Order some books. Sketch a sermon series for a few months out. Write notes of encouragement to volunteers. Or, start seeking a word from the Lord for the coming Sunday’s sermon.
Be with People
Isolation for the preacher trying to overcome the MMBs can do more harm than good. Get out of the house. Be with family members, friends, coworkers, or church members whose company refreshes you. Schedule a brunch with one or more of these people at your favorite diner. This will get you out of the bed and the house. Remember, though, that if you are going to schedule visits on Mondays try to do so with people in your church who energize and encourage you.
On Mondays, I enjoyed brunch with either staff people who energized me or new believers who excited me. I saved the EGR (extra grace required) appointments for later in the week, when my Sunday sermon was mostly written.
Do Something Fun
Plan something on Monday that is fun. All humans need some play for the soul, especially preachers trying to overcome the MMBs. Usually, I would cut out of work on Mondays by 2pm or 3pm to go enjoy a hobby or some physical exercise, like running. I would often grab my fly-fishing pole and head out to a local stream to wade in the creek and hopefully catch some trout. Or, I would golf with a friend or two. Often, I would go to a nearby park with my family and enjoy a picnic dinner. If fun family time couldn’t happen in the late afternoon, we would plan a pizza game night in the evening. The key is to plan events you can look forward to on Mondays with people whose company refreshes you.
1. Reflect upon your experience with the MMBs. Do the blues still get you down or have you learned to overcome them? What habits hinder or help you when it comes to dealing with the MMBs?
2. Implement a plan to overcome the MMBs for the next two weeks. Decide where you will pray immediately following the preaching event. Map out tasks you can do in your office on Mondays that are enjoyable and productive. Schedule a brunch or lunch with a leader or new believer in the church who encourages or energizes you. Plan some fun activities for late afternoon. Then, be sure to work your plan or the MMBs will work you over!
Lenny Luchetti is the lead pastor of Woodland Church (Battle Creek, MI) and the author of Preaching Essentials: A Practical Guide and Preaching with Empathy: Crafting Sermons in a Callous Culture .