5 Ways a Pastor Can Recover from a Bad Sunday
Let's face it, Sundays don't always go according to plan. Maybe the sermon didn't go over as well as you'd hoped, or maybe you just didn't feel like you were connecting with your congregation the way you usually do, or maybe Charlie the Complainer cornered you right before you got up to preach. Whatever the reason, we all have off days. And when those days happen to fall on Sunday mornings, it can be tough to shake off the feeling that the whole day was a bust.
But take heart! There are things you can do to recover from a bad Sunday. Here are five suggestions, straight from Scripture:
1. Pray (Philippians 4:6-7)
No matter what's going on in our lives, we can always turn to God in prayer. He is our ever-present help in time of need (Psalm 46:1), and He promises to hear us when we call on Him (Jeremiah 33:3). So if you're feeling discouraged after a difficult Sunday, take some time to pour out your heart to God. He knows exactly what you're going through, and He cares about every detail (Psalm 139:1-4).
2. Read God's Word (Joshua 1:8)
When we spend time in God's Word, it has a way of putting things back into perspective. It helps us remember who we are and Whose we are (Ephesians 2:10). It gives us hope for the future (Jeremiah 29:11). And it reminds us that no matter how bad things might seem in the moment, God is still on His throne and He is still in control (Psalm 103:19). So if you're struggling after a tough Sunday, make it a priority to spend some extra time reading Scripture.
3. Talk to a trusted friend or mentor (Proverbs 27:17)
It's important to have people in our lives who we can talk to openly and honestly—people who will encourage us when we're down and help us see things from a different perspective. If you have a friend or mentor who you know will be honest with you but also full of grace and truth, reach out to them after a difficult Sunday and ask for their input. They just might have some helpful insight that you need to hear. If you can find an older pastor you trust, they can sometimes be the best sounding board of all.
4. Serve someone else (Mark 10:45)
One of the best ways to get our minds off of our own problems is by serving someone else. When we take our focus off ourselves and put it on others, it helps us remember that there's more to life than our own little world. It also helps us see that even though we might be having a bad day, there are plenty of people who are dealing with much worse. So if you're struggling after a tough Sunday, find someone who needs your help and serve them with joy.
5. Give thanks (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
It's easy to focus on the negative when things don't go the way we want them too—but that's not how God wants us to live. He tells us in His Word to "give thanks in all circumstances" (1 Thessalonians 5:18). Why? Because giving thanks is one way that we can show our trust in God—even when things are tough. It's one way we can remind ourselves that even though things might not be going well right now, God is still good and He is still at work in our lives (Philippians 1:6). So if you're feeling discouraged after a difficult Sunday service, take some time to thank God for all the good things He has done in your life—and for His faithfulness even when times are tough.
No matter how bad things might seem after a difficult Sunday service, remember that there are things you can do to recover—and that God is still faithful even when times are tough. So pray, read Scripture, talk to a trusted friend or mentor, serve someone else, and give thanks—and watch as God uses even the tough times in your life for His glory and your good!
By Barry L. Davis
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