7 Ways to Find Joy Today if Yesterday’s Ministry Was Hard

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I’ve been involved in the local church as a pastor long enough to know that some Sundays are really hard. If that’s the case for you, I hope these ideas will help you find some joy today:

  1. Focus on those who affirmed you rather than the few (or even the one) who got under your skin. It’s been my experience that we too often let the few voices drown out the many. The opposition isn’t always as strong as they seem.
  2. Take the day off – or at least part of the day – and do something you enjoy doing. For me, that would mean taking a hike, shopping at a place like Dick’s Sporting Goods, reading a sports magazine, or hanging out with one of my mentees.
  3. Do what you’d tell another church leader to do. If someone else who had a bad Sunday came to you for ministry, what would you tell him or her to do? A tough Monday is a time to apply to your own life what you’d tell someone else to do. Follow your own advice.
  4. Read a few of your favorite Bible stories. I know that solution sounds like a basic Sunday school idea, but you may need to go back to something familiar and comforting. Let the stories that inspired you in the past inspire you again today.
  5. Hang out at a local favorite spot, and tell somebody about God’s blessings in your life. Go someplace where you know you’ll likely be in a conversation, and be sure to talk about God’s goodness. Re-focus your attention on His blessings as you witness to somebody else.
  6. Do what Jesus said to do: pray for those who mistreat you (Luke 6:28). Sometimes we don’t pray much at all when we’re frustrated; however, not only should we pray even more then, but we should also pray specifically for those who hurt us. God changes our heart as we pray for theirs.
  7. Love on your family today. Play with your preschool kids. Go to an amusement park with your teens. Call your adult children. Hang out with your grandkids. Take your spouse to dinner. Avoid secluding yourself in your frustration after a tough yesterday – make yourself enjoy the day with people you know adore you.

Let us hear how we might pray for you today.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published at

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MDiv Preaching and Pastoral Ministry

The Preaching and Pastoral Ministry track prepares students for pastoral ministry in the local church with a special emphasis on expository preaching.


  • Joy
  • Pastoral Ministry
Chuck Lawless

Director of the Center for Preaching and Pastoral Leadership

Dr. Chuck Lawless currently serves as Professor of Evangelism and Missions, Dean of Doctoral Studies, and Vice-President for Spiritual Formation and Ministry Centers at Southeastern Seminary, in addition to serving as Team Leader for Theological Education Strategists for the International Mission Board. He previously served as a Vice-President for Global Theological Advance for the IMB. Prior to that, he was dean of the Billy Graham School of Missions and Evangelism at Southern Seminary in Louisville, KY, where he also served as Vice President for Academic Programming and the Director of Professional Doctoral Studies. He received a B.S. degree from Cumberland College and M.Div. and Ph.D. degrees from Southern Seminary. He is the author of eight works, including “Membership Matters,” and “Spiritual Warfare,” and has contributed numerous articles to denominational periodicals. He and his wife Pam have been married for over 25 years and reside here in Wake Forest, NC.

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