Dealing With The Sunday Roller-Coaster That Every Pastor Rides

The Scenic Railway at Luna Park, Melbourne, is...
The Scenic Railway at Luna Park, Melbourne, is the world’s oldest continually-operating rollercoaster, built in 1912. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For those in the ministry Sunday can be an emotional and spiritual roller-coaster, filled with twists and turns, ups and downs, that combine to make the ride frightening, exhilarating, terrifying and joyous all at the same time.  Any Pastor who has been in the ministry knows exactly what I am talking about.  You get up on Sunday morning excited about what the Lord has in store and fired up to preach the Word that He has given you through the week.  But then the hot water in the shower won’t work, your wife yells at you because you forgot to pick up milk two nights before, and your kids stayed up too late last night and don’t want to get up.  You feel the anointing be drained from your soul but somehow you get yourself together and head for the church.  The parking lot is full and your excitement begins to grow, God is going to do something big.  You retreat to your study where you spend the Sunday School hour praying and preparing to preach.  Before you know it, it is time to head to the sanctuary.  Your feeling good.  The message is welling up in your heart and you just know that God is going to do something huge.  As you walk through the halls the Sunday School director stops you to tell you that a teacher did not show up and that they can’t find anyone to take the class for the next Sunday.  You go a little further and someone stops you to complain about the youth being too loud, or the worship service being too contemporary, or your sermon last week being too long.  Every Pastor reading these words, knows exactly what I am talking about.  Sometimes the walk from your office to the pulpit feels like running a gauntlet.  By the time the band starts playing and the worship begins you are fighting just to regain your joy.  And this is just the morning service— you have a full day of this ahead of you.  Up, down, round and round, spinning you, jostling you, until you are just glad to get home on Sunday night.

The Sunday roller-coaster of emotion that every Pastor goes through is a combination of Satanic attack, congregational ignorance, and our own emotional instability.  From a spiritual standpoint we have to understand that Sunday is a war zone for Pastors.  The one thing that you can count on is that Satan and his minions are going to show up on Sunday morning to attack you.  Your members, leaders, and deacons may take a Sunday off, but Satan never does.  He is going to do everything that he can do to discourage, distract, disorient, and destroy you on Sunday morning.  As a Pastor you have to be aware that the attack is going to come and prepare by equipping yourself with the full armor of God.  In addition, let me recommend that you gather together a handful of your most trusted prayer warriors who will be your own personal spiritual body guards on Sunday by praying for you throughout the day.

Second, you have to realize that the congregation is largely ignorant of what we go through on a Sunday morning.  They don’t realize the intensity of the day and the spiritual struggle that is going on within your own heart as you wage battle against the forces of darkness.  We can help our churches by talking about this more often but no one outside of the ministry will ever fully understand the battle that happens on Sunday morning.  What we can do is to encourage our members to hold off talking to us about problems until after the service or even better yet, to simply make an appointment to come by during the week.  We can also do ourselves a favor by getting some of the spiritual leaders of the church to walk with us through the halls as we travel to the sanctuary.  This way when someone wants to discuss a matter, we can politely hand off the situation to another staff member, elder, or deacon.

Finally, we need to remember that in many ways we are our own worst enemies.  As Pastors we have to admit that we can be emotional basket cases on Sunday morning.  My recommendation to any Pastor who gets upset on a Sunday and feels like blowing up or venting their frustration is to go home, sleep on it, then get up and pray about,  give it a day or two to get some perspective.  Don’t just blow a fuse.  You will feel better right after you blow up, but eventually you look around and realize that you just blew up your own ministry.

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