How does a pastor fight through the “Preaching Hangover.”

tired-picYou may call it something different, but every pastor knows about it.  It is the mental, emotional, and spiritual crash that takes place the next day (Monday) as a result of pouring your heart and soul out in the proclamation of God’s word to God’s people the day before.

Personally, it has affectionately become known as, “The Preaching Hangover.”

There is no easy remedy, medication, or quick fix that can prevent it.  There are, however, several practical efforts I make every Monday that are tremendously helpful to fight through the fog.  Here are 5 suggestions for your consideration:

Pray and read Scripture

I know this seems like a “no brainer” for a pastor.  The fact is sometimes on Monday morning…I don’t feel like it.  Yet, this is still what gives life to our weary souls and we must make ourselves continue to engage, even if we are struggling to want to think about anything, even God and his word.  I find pushing through the fog by reaching for the bread of life is what gives a helpful kick start as we begin the weekly grind again.

Know your limitations

Many pastors take Monday as their day off.  For those of us who choose a different day off to spend with our family, we have to proceed with Mondays carefully.  I am in no condition to deal with any heavy, thought-provoking, emotional counseling or conflict situations, at least until after lunch.  You may be different, but the “hangover” affects us all in some way that requires discernment as we plan the day.  Be careful you don’t put yourself in a position in your day that requires you to make a big decision when you are not nearly as sharp as you need to be to make it.


I exercise 4-5 times a week, but if there is a day when it is especially important to do so, it is Monday.  If you only exercise 1 day a week, I recommend it be Monday.  It hurts…many times more than normal following a Lord’s Day, but a good 30+ minute cardiovascular workout is exactly what I need to help shake the preaching hangover.

Assign achievable tasks

The preaching hangover is by no means an excuse to be a sluggard and unproductive.  Give yourself attainable tasks and make sure you push through to achieve them.  If it is your day off, make sure you are working hard to perk up and engage with your family so your wife and children do not get your “sluggard day.”  If you are trying to be productive in the office, but have a hard time studying for very long as I do, schedule other tasks that are within your frame of mind to accomplish.

For me, Monday is full of checking emails, simple administration, running errands, and meeting with folks that I know will be more light, encouraging, and less likely to be a blind-side confrontation.  You may be able to handle more than I typically can.  Just make sure they are tasks that are reasonable for you to accomplish in the day.


Do whatever you must to provide some silence and solitude for yourself.  Sometimes I will combine this with my exercise in the morning.  I like to go to a park, run, then sit in silence for a little while away from people, just you and God.  Silence can be life-giving when we are often bombarded with words and people the day before.  This has become essential for my personal soul care and my ability to work through the Monday fog.

I hope in some way these suggestions will trigger ideas that will be of help to you to clear the cob webs of the “preaching hangover.”  Just remember, when you do have to face a long, weighty, conflict full Monday because the needs of the congregation demand it…God’s grace is sufficient to walk through it.

Posted in Preaching, The Pastor's Soul, Uncategorized

5 years later…remembering my late pastoral mentor.

Five years ago today, my dear friend and pastoral mentor, Jackson Boyett and his wife, Barbara were hit by a drunk driver and killed just outside Austin, TX where they had lived and ministered at Dayspring Fellowship for almost 30 years.  Jackson was one of the most faithful pastors I have ever known and his death was a devastating loss to me personally.

Those who were readers of the blog this time five years ago, know that many of my posts functioned as a valuable tool of grief for me.

I shared about Jackson and why he was the pastor I said, “I wanted to grow up to be one day.”  I shared about what I learned from him and why he was so uniquely faithful to this calling.  I shared about the gift it was to have known such a man and the opportunity to emulate his example.

In light of this five year anniversary, it has been helpful to revisit several of these posts I wrote to honor Jackson and in doing so, honor the Savior he so faithfully served while here.  I re-read them with the hopes to strive to be as faithful as he was.  I have been freshly reminded of the sovereign, loving God Jackson preached so tirelessly that continues to give me hope in this loss.

I have also shed fresh tears in the process.

I invite you to look at them again and may this man’s pastoral example move you to strive for the same.  If you are reading these posts for the first time, be challenged to shepherd the flock like this man.  Pastors, if we be found half as faithful to shepherd and love people as Jackson Boyett did on behalf of our Chief Shepherd, we would be doing well and having a great kingdom impact to the glory of God.

Below you will find some of my most meaningful posts.  Read, remember, and give thanks to God for the rare example of a real pastor.

Posted in Oversight of Souls, The Pastor's Soul, Training for Ministry

What are some books on preaching you recommend?

The Pastor’s Preaching

Posted in Book Recommendation

How can a church care for widows and singles the week of Thanksgiving?

The best way to care for those in our church who may be alone on Thanksgiving is to invite them to your family gathering, or find others in your church who would be willing to take them in.  This takes some effort by the pastor, or someone else in the church who has the time and desire to ask around, find out who is in town, and put people together.  Yet, I would argue this effort is worth it.

Last year just a day before Thanksgiving, I received word that a young single and a widow in our church were staying in town and had no where to go . Because I had already asked around to see who was having people over within our church, I was able to gracious impose on these folks in our church who were more than willing to set one more place setting at the table for these alone for the holidays.

I also have fond memories of my father bringing surprise guests over for Thanksgiving.

Do not underestimate the impact this has on your children and other family present as they see you reach out to care for your brother or sister in Christ with no family to spend Thanksgiving with them.

Thanksgiving is coming up, but it is not too late to connect young singles and widows to some hospitable folks in your church who desire to minister the gospel in this way.  If you cannot reach anyone…take them home with you.  This post was originally inspired by my father who almost every year brought some elderly widow home with him on Thanksgiving who he discovered at the last minute was alone.

A related post that also applies to this question as Christmas approaches is this previous post How can you serve widow during the holidays? 

Posted in Caring for Widows, Oversight of Souls

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