It’s Sunday afternoon. The adrenaline beings to fade, and you feel it creeping in. Maybe it comes later as your try to sleep. Perhaps it waits until Monday to rear its ugly head.
We all get it, the post-sermon blues. “I should have said this.” “I should have done that.” “My sermon was too flat.” “What did the people think of it?” “I’m terrible at preaching, maybe I should do something else.”
1 Corinthians 10:13 reminds us that our temptations are common to all mankind. You are not alone in feeling this way. Some find this feeling frequently, others less so, but we all experience it.
Here are 8 Thoughts for When We Get the Post-Sermon Blues:
The blues are a blessing
I know that sounds odd, but it is true. The post-sermon blues show us our inadequacies and dependency on God in at least two ways.
We will always fall short in some way. Even on the best days, our human words are always insufficient to carry the full weight of God. Likewise, it is God, not us, who changes the hearts of our hearers. So, embrace the blues a little bit! Let them push you toward the Lord.
Remember the sufficiency of Scripture
No matter how good or bad we think the sermon went, remember with thanksgiving that God’s word is always sharp, always effective, and always active. Even our feeblest attempts are not in vain, for the Spirit of God always applies the Word of God to the people of God.
The Baxter Principle
Richard Baxter was a hard-working pastor during the turbulent years of the English Civil War and following. In his practical writings, he warns against wasting time, exhorting the need to stay busy as far as your strength will let you (Depression, Anxiety, and the Christian Life, 97).
Baxter also encourages balance for the health of the body and the soul. First, if your labor is mental and sedentary, then apply physical labor and exercise to your life. Second, if your labor is physical, then apply mental exercise like reading Scripture and books. Third, if you are weary from both, partake of God’s gift of life-giving relationships. (“Christian Directory,”387-388).
Pastor, let me encourage you, don’t be idle after preaching. Don’t fill your time surfing the web and social media. Busy yourself! If you are weary from preaching and study, then add a measure of physical labor. Exercise Sunday nights, play with your kids, enjoy your wife.
On Monday at the office, do something tangible and physical. It is amazing how you can be recharged by cleaning up leftover bulletins, reorganizing the kid’s area, or even cleaning up your office to reset for another week of ministry. I find that when I get the post-sermon blues, one of the best things I can do is open the windows, let some light in, and start cleaning.
Don’t fish for complements
This is what we are tempted to do. It is gross when you step back and look at it. You have just preached, trying to get people to worship God, and now you skulk around fishing for people to worship you. If we are honest, that’s not far from the reality of our hearts.
You don’t need to fish for complements. God is enough for you. And whatever other affirmation you might need, He is faithful to provide it at just the right time from some dear brother or saint in the church. (1 Thess. 5:12-13, Eph. 4:29)
Ask yourself, ‘Was God Pleased?’
Did you do your best to communicate God’s Word? Did you try your best to keep the focus on Christ instead of yourself or some lesser thing?
If then answer is ‘yes’, the put those blues away. If the answer is no, then spend time repenting. God is faithful to forgive and restore your soul!
Fill your head and heart with the gospel
I’m not talking about sermon prep or hunting for things to use later. I am talking about intimacy with Christ that reminds and refreshes us with His love.
Read your favorite passages. Reorient your mind. Make God great in your soul and watch the worries and insecurities fade away!
Remember and reaffirm your calling
Listen to your favorite sermons that energize and inspire you to excel in ministry. Listen to those songs that grip your heart. Read those articles, chapters, paragraphs, or biographies that kindle you love for God, missions, and the church. Listen to that podcast that really gets you going!
Keep these things close by
Keep a folder close by, filled with copies and lists of those things mentioned above. Then, when the enemy comes again, you’ll be ready to fight those post sermon blues!
Brothers, let us not grow weary in preaching, teaching, and contending for the faith once for all delivered to the saints! (Jude 3)