Preaching is no joke.
It’s an honor if you have received a call to preach. But the act of preaching is exhausting.
Even though it takes hours to write a sermon and prepare to preach, it’s a daily exercise of faith to prepare yourself for the spiritual battles involved with teaching the Bible and preaching the gospel.
For most pastors, you will feel physically exhausted the day after you preach. As the weeks and months pass by, your physical exhaustion will only accumulate over time. So, it’s vital for your longevity to find a way to recharge yourself during the week and year.
To help you recharge your batteries and create better rhythms, here are six ways you can recharge yourself.
#1. Have a backup sermon
In case of an emergency or to give yourself a break from preparation, prepare a backup sermon—a message you can preach on any occasion.
Depending on your situation, you may not have a staff or a qualified volunteer who can preach in your absence or on a moments notice. And, if you’re at your wits ends or have an emergency to tend to in your church, you may not have the time or the mental or emotional bandwidth to write a new sermon. So, having a sermon ready made to preach at any time will reduce your stress and give you the rest you need when things are difficult.
#2. Plan for recovery
Preaching is demanding in every imaginable way.
Preparing to preach will place a toll on your mind and emotional well-being. And the act of preaching itself will drain you physically. According to Tim Spivey, some experts have compared the physical toll of preaching a 30-minute sermon to an 8-hour workday.
To help yourself recharge after preaching, it’s essential for you to plan time to recover. If you’re able, prepare to take a half-day or the day off after you preach. Arrange for business meetings or counseling sessions to take place later in the week.
When it comes to recovering, it’s also crucial for you to set boundaries on the day you preach, which leads us to the next point.
#3. Set boundaries when you preach
If at all possible, avoid scheduling meetings before you preach or immediately after you preach. Preventing unnecessary meetings will help you to guard your energy and stay focused on preaching.
Knowing that preaching will place a physical toll on your body, try to avoid holding meetings or counseling sessions following your sermon. Plan on getting a bite to eat, something to drink, and a break before conducting any serious business.
#4. Prepare preachers
As a pastor, God does not call you to do everything for everyone. It is not possible for you to do everything the church needs to be done. What is more, it’s also not a good idea for you to preach every single Sunday. So, when it comes to sharing the pulpit and giving yourself a break from preaching, it’s essential for you to develop leaders in your church.
Developing leaders within your church who can preach will take time. Identify leaders in your church who have the potential to preach or who have expressed an interest in preaching. Train them. Teach them. And prepare them to preach. In time, you’ll be able to develop additional preachers in your church who can help to share the preaching responsibilities.
#5. Get rest, exercise, and watch what you eat
Dear pastor, like everyone else in the world, you need to rest, get regular exercise, and be mindful of what you eat.
We’re not saying that you need to jump on the latest fad (though, this may be helpful in cases). But, what we’re suggesting is that you need to take care of yourself physically, which will help to improve your levels of energy throughout the day and the week.
Also, be sure to drink plenty of water—especially on the days that you preach. Consuming too much caffeine on the day you preach may cause you to become dehydrated and your mouth to get dry, which will make it sound like you’re slurring when you’re preaching.
#6. Take a vacation
During the year, make an effort to take extended time off every quarter and at least once per year.
When you are away, fight the temptation to check your emails, text messages, and answer every phone call. Delegate pastoral responsibilities to a member of your staff or volunteers as you are away. To recharge during your vacation, you need to disconnect from your work.
If your budget is tight, don’t sweat it. There are several ways you can take a vacation on a budget.
How do you recharge yourself during the week? Share your tips in the comments below!