Why Are Preachers So Exhausted After Preaching?

Posted on Updated on

Preaching on Sunday morning is, for me, the most exhilarating part of my calling!  I cannot wait to step into the pulpit at my church and deliver that which has been simmering in me for the past week (and, in essence, for my entire Christian experience!).  The prayer, the study, the compilation—ultimately coming to fruition in prayerful delivery, aiming to be clear and to put the groceries on the bottom shelf.

Sunday afternoons, however, are more exhausting than at any other time of the week.  I’m not in bad shape, mind you.  I exercise, eat well, and have plenty of energy for the task to which Christ called me.  So why do I feel exhausted?

Turns out I’m not alone!   Faithful pastors all over feel this way after preaching on Sunday.  Some outsiders may say that there is something unspiritual about the pastor who endures this.  However, this is not so by and large.

So why do most pastors and preachers feel so exhausted after preaching?

It’s Work!  It’s a labor of love, to be sure—but it’s still labor.  Studies have shown that the energy used for preaching a 30 minute sermon is the equivalent of an 8-hour work day.  Hours are spent the week prior in prayer, study, and more prayer and more study!   The main priority of a pastor’s ministry is preaching—so much of our energy is put into this endeavor that an adrenaline builds up!  The Spirit begins to work in the preacher as the preacher works out the Spirit’s message!   While the Spirit at times just brings the message, He also intends to give us the ‘want-to’ to mine out what God’s Word has to say from a specific passage. 

Passion!  Preachers work their salt are those who are passionate about Christ, the gospel, His Word, His church and the lost.  Paul told the Corinthian church that “the love of Christ compels me’ (2 Corinthians 5:14).  Preachers do not simply inform, their goal is to persuade to transform!  While God is sovereign over all things, He uses His Word and the preachers as His instrument—His sovereign means to His sovereign ends. 

Unforeseen Issues.  When one goes to the drive-thru at the bank, there is a vacuum tube that carries the container from the bank to your car.  Some pastors wish this were the case:  a vacuum tube from their office to the pulpit and back again.  But pastors are not just preachers, they are shepherds over sheep.  And part of their task is not just to deliver the Word at the church’s appointed gatherings—it’s to minister to them outside of those times as well.  With that is the probability that right before the sermon, or even right after the sermon, someone will bring up an problem or an issue (neutral or otherwise) that they urgently believe needs to be addressed right them.  This takes steam out of the preacher if he’s not careful.  While church members should be sensitive to the nature of preaching, preachers should also be sensitive to the needs of his congregation. 

A Distrust in God’s Sovereignty in Preaching.  Preachers become exhausted when they believe that the preaching is all about them: their skills, their preparation, their ability to turn a phrase, to engender the proper emotion in order to elicit their desired response, etc.  Preaching is not all about you!  It’s about the Spirit shaping the minister as the Spirit uses that minister to shape His message.  Preachers who trust in themselves will lose sleep if they didn’t get that one illustration in, that one phrase turned, or didn’t get the desired response.  Paul said that they planted and watered the seeds,  but God causes the growth.  Minister is not about us—it’s about God-called men calling out God’s message to God’s people and to God’s world.  He is the one who foreknows, predestines, calls, justifies, and glorifies in order to shape them into the fashion of His Son (Romans 8:29-30)!  God uses imperfect vessels to do His perfect will!  Trust Him over your own methods and means.

Any other reasons, preachers, why you tend to feel exhausted after preaching?

Advertisements

32 thoughts on “Why Are Preachers So Exhausted After Preaching?

    […] Why Are Preachers So Exhausted After Preaching? I wrote this on a Monday morning after an incredible service at my church (Arapahoe Road Baptist Church).  One of my friends added one thing:  “Too many ministers are out of shape.”  Any other thoughts? Share this:FacebookTwitterEmailPrintLinkedInPinterestLike this:LikeBe the first to like this. Posted in: Uncategorized | Tagged: Links […]

      ron said:
      November 14, 2015 at 8:31 pm

      So, true. I am bi- vocational where I preach Sunday morning and Sunday evening and Wednesday evening and work a 40 to 50 hour secular sales job where I I make presentations for 8 hours day. This is what God has called me to do.for now!

    […] Why Are Preachers So Exhausted After Preaching?. […]

    mark said:
    May 25, 2014 at 6:22 pm

    I’ve been preaching for 25 years and the post sermon fatigue is all to familiar to me. I understand coming home and feeling like my entire body and mind has been run through a wash ringer . I have given this question a lot of thought and I have learned a few things about proper recuperation from the scripture as well as from practical health info.
    Remember when the prophet took on the forces of Jezebel on Mt Carmel? He came out of a historic victory and went into a deep depressive funk. God laid him down next to a stream, put him to sleep and fed him with ravens. For me that answers the question at hand. He clearly had courage, integrity and righteousness. Yet he crashed after the victory. That tells me that ministry is a whole being exertion of energy. When the battle is over we need a whole being recharge. The prophet became discouraged and fatalistic in his mind. He was sure all was lost and wanted to quit. Sound familiar?
    The brain is a chemical computer. When we use the powers of passion and emotional intensity as well as enduring the rigors of performance hyper awareness, we use a lot of bytes of brain power. This is restored by sleep and nutrition.
    Also it has been observed that dehydration can contribute to mental and physical fatigue. Drinking lots of water after preaching and singing is important because we blow a lot of body moisture out of our mouth when projecting our voice for long periods of time. I have noticed that lots of water before and after can greatly improve post sermon energy levels and feelings of well being.

    ShebaBarb said:
    November 14, 2015 at 6:56 am

    The Holy Spirit is a consuming fire and once a yielded vessel allows God to use you for His Glory you feel consumed and have to allow the fleshly body to rest and return back to normalcy. Think about running a race in a marathon and afterwards allowing your body to resume it’s normalcy. It takes water and a period of rest.

      Matthew R. Perry said:
      November 29, 2016 at 4:32 pm

      Just FYI, I have moved to leadwithjoy.net. I’d love to have you join me over there. The more, the merrier. Let’s help sharpen each other.

    myzenmypiece said:
    November 14, 2015 at 8:26 am

    Let’s not forget that there are some preachers that have families in addition to being a shepherd of a church or the ones that are working on their education. Talk about tired!!!

    Libby Gontarz said:
    November 14, 2015 at 9:53 am

    Let’s not forget that preaching is waging spiritual warfare. Every word the Holy Spirit inspires you to speak, the enemy is trying to hinder. I know sometimes you are feeling attacks coming directly at you and can even pinpoint individuals in the congregation who are blocking and opposing God’s message. Add in the distractions of movement and noise throughout the room that you have to tune out and refuse to focus on. All this time, you must be hyper-focused on the leading of the Holy Spirit as he fine-tunes the message he has already helped you prepare. Who wouldn’t be exhausted?

      Alvaro Funes said:
      November 14, 2016 at 12:07 pm

      Powerful point

      G Smith said:
      November 14, 2016 at 5:45 pm

      Anytime I get totally lifted by the Holy Ghost coming back down to a normal feeling can feel exhaustive & depressing.

        Matthew R. Perry said:
        November 29, 2016 at 4:30 pm

        Just FYI, I have moved to leadwithjoy.net. I’d love to have you join me over there. The more, the merrier. Let’s help sharpen each other.

    Michael D. Woods said:
    November 14, 2015 at 11:26 am

    I have been preaching for 38 years. I served one church for 24 years and preached about 3 sermons per week. I have been with my present church for 2.5 years. Also I have been a Seminary Professor for the last 19 years. I teach four nights per week and preach twice per week. I am about a 40 minute preacher and I am almost NEVER exhausted after preaching and I am 61 years old. Why not? Because I am well-rested, well-hydrated and well-prepared when I preach. I do not take Saturday engagements unless I can be home by 8 pm and get my rest. If a preacher is somewhat tired when he gets up to preach, he will be exhausted when he sits down. http://www.mwenow.com

      Matthew R. Perry said:
      November 29, 2016 at 4:32 pm

      Just FYI, I have moved to leadwithjoy.net. I’d love to have you join me over there. The more, the merrier. Let’s help sharpen each other.

    Dawriter said:
    November 14, 2015 at 11:27 am

    I agree with the above comments. One thing about ministering the Word of God is that you give out virtue. Even more so when people are pulling or believing in the message you are delivering.

    Michael D. Woods said:
    November 14, 2015 at 11:34 am

    Preachers need to enter the pulpit well-rested. I have been preaching for 38 years and teaching at a seminary for 19 years. I preaching on average 2 times per week. I teach 4 evenings per week. I served one church for 24 years and have been with another for 2.5 years. I do not take Saturday evening engagements unless I am able to be home by 8 pm. I enter the pulpit well-rested, well-hydrated, well-fed and well-prepared. I have almost never been exhausted after preaching once on Sunday or twice on Sunday. I have not been exhausted after preaching evening engagements. Yes, preaching is hard work but my grandfather said, “Son, hard work don’t hurt nobody. Eat right and get your rest and you will be just fine.”

      Matthew R. Perry said:
      November 29, 2016 at 4:32 pm

      Just FYI, I have moved to leadwithjoy.net. I’d love to have you join me over there. The more, the merrier. Let’s help sharpen each other.

    Andrew Bryant said:
    November 14, 2015 at 1:08 pm

    Such a great, astonishing, truthful & informal read!! Thanks Pastor!

      Matthew R. Perry said:
      November 14, 2015 at 1:19 pm

      Thank you, Andrew. I wrote this about two years ago, and someone picked this up. 15,000 hits. So glad it’s helpful.

    spnemo said:
    November 14, 2015 at 3:59 pm

    Here are two more reasons: 1. They are battling a fear of public speaking (for some that fear never goes away). 2. Preaching is spiritual warfare. Battles are exhausting.

      Karen said:
      November 26, 2015 at 7:02 pm

      I recently listen to a stranger telling of all the crisis going on in her family. She was the grandmother which was trying to be the rock in the whole family situations and there was many. She was in tears when I first saw her. I listened to every word. I asked to hug her I then prayed with her. It was a very heavy story. I cried and was distraught for this lady. If my husband d hadn’t been there when I got home..I’m not sure what I would have done. I was totally overwhelmed with empathy, concern and pure exhaustion like never before. It was a spiritual heaviness. I felt all that on her and it was as if I took on the emotional pain. So I totally understand what you’re talking about.

        Matthew R. Perry said:
        November 29, 2016 at 4:31 pm

        Just FYI, I have moved to leadwithjoy.net. I’d love to have you join me over there. The more, the merrier. Let’s help sharpen each other.

    Sybil Moseley said:
    November 14, 2015 at 9:45 pm

    Physiological and spiritual, preachers use their spirits, souls, and bodies when they preach. I always feel it and need recovery sometimes more sometimes less. Intercessory prayer while the message is being delivered. Prayer for the preacher during delivery helps to carry the burden and shield the blows!

      Matthew R. Perry said:
      November 29, 2016 at 4:31 pm

      Just FYI, I have moved to leadwithjoy.net. I’d love to have you join me over there. The more, the merrier. Let’s help sharpen each other.

    Dlalaman said:
    November 14, 2015 at 10:19 pm

    Good point my pastor. What I have observed is that Preaching is not just speaking words like in a secular setting. It involves a lot of spiritual confrontation with the forces of darkness at the same you are delivering the sermon. Kinds of preachings are not the same, I guess if one just gives a motivational type of sermon they might not be that tired because the type of message targets the mind rather than the heart. If the the message is somewhat confrontational to the enemy it will be faced with resistance which then will culminate into physical tiredness.

      Matthew R. Perry said:
      November 29, 2016 at 4:31 pm

      Just FYI, I have moved to leadwithjoy.net. I’d love to have you join me over there. The more, the merrier. Let’s help sharpen each other.

    John Cheek said:
    November 14, 2016 at 10:10 am

    I am a new Pastor. I love preaching God’s Word. I believe that preaching on Sunday is my reward. But, to prepare, to give what God has called us to do, due diligence, requires a great deal of work. Then to preach with passion and conviction is emotionally impacting. I don’t want to use the word draining, because I am renewed each time I preach. But, it is exhausting. And to do this Sunday in and Sunday out, I see can take a toll. So, I am going to have to be particularly intentional about taking time away periodically.

      Matthew R. Perry said:
      November 29, 2016 at 4:31 pm

      Just FYI, I have moved to leadwithjoy.net. I’d love to have you join me over there. The more, the merrier. Let’s help sharpen each other.

    Rev. Lester Lambert said:
    November 14, 2016 at 6:22 pm

    It is the Holy Spirits anointing. Look at the prophet Elijah after his Mt. Carmel experience. He was exhausted too. Also I have noticed that When I get up to preach and the anointing comes on me I am no longer aware of any pain or fatigue. However, afterwards it seems to return.

      Matthew R. Perry said:
      November 29, 2016 at 4:30 pm

      So interesting to hear. I have found this out as well! Just FYI, I have moved to leadwithjoy.net. I’d love to have you join me over there. The more, the merrier. Let’s help sharpen each other.

        Matthew R. Perry said:
        November 29, 2016 at 4:30 pm

        Just FYI, I have moved to leadwithjoy.net. I’d love to have you join me over there. The more, the merrier. Let’s help sharpen each other.

    Mattie Sullivan said:
    February 28, 2017 at 11:22 am

    Luke 8 (KJV)
    43 And a woman having an issue of blood twelve years, which had spent all her living upon physicians, neither could be healed of any,

    44 Came behind him, and touched the border of his garment: and immediately her issue of blood stanched.

    45 And Jesus said, Who touched me? When all denied, Peter and they that were with him said, Master, the multitude throng thee and press thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me?

    46 And Jesus said, Somebody hath touched me: for I perceive that virtue is gone out of me.

    This is Jesus, the Lord Himself who ‘felt virtue (strength) go out of Him. Why wouldn’t a Pastor/Preacher who is working under the power of the Holy Spirit? I would be more concerned if he didn’t feel exhausted.

    Jason Earls said:
    March 1, 2017 at 11:05 am

    One word is Hypervigilance.

    Hypervilance: an enhanced state of sensory sensitivity accompanied by an exaggerated intensity of behaviors whose purpose is to detect threats.

    This is often experienced by soldiers, police officers, or back in the day when we were chased by a dog. LOL.

    In our case, hypervigilance is probably more of an intensified Hypervigilance, because of the spiritual weight of preaching. There has to be a time of solitude, quietness, and/or rest after a moments of hypervigilance. If not, we, our families, and all others we lead suffer.

    The dip from the watchman’s alertness to a normal sense of operation is a huge physiological dip. I experience both in preaching and in consecutive nights on tour doing stand up comedy. What’s key, again, is moments of solitude & rest. #GetInTheBoat #GoToTheOtherSide

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s