Friday, August 15, 2014

Preaching through Fatigue

A good article from Preaching Today . . .

This means that if pastoring involves, you know, pastoring, then it matters little how vociferously some may say "there are no guarantees in life." There is one on which nearly any pastor can count: spiritual fatigue will happen. There will be moments or perhaps months where Jesus seems conspicuously absent, and no amount of Footprints in the Sand reviewing will convince us otherwise. The scary part is that it may have nothing to do with the hurting people around us. The windiness of the Spirit is it's own unpredictability and we may find ourselves mid-ocean, tacking on course, sails up, and suddenly getting nowhere.
When Sunday rolls around again, and you're only ever at most 168 hours away from standing up the very next week, the task of preaching is unavoidable, and at times crushing.
Unfortunately even the strictest of pietistic training does little to prepare us for this. Whatever pastoral training we may have received, even the kind that seeks to ground us in an ordered, disciplined life with roots of prayer and study, and the fruit of gentleness and peace, for one reason or another we seem to ignore the phenomenon of fatigue until the symbols of epic collapse (adultery or embezzlement, for example) start to appear. Indeed, our reticence to acknowledge our own fatigue may explain our need to spray our people with cheery "we know God wins in the end so let's have a smile" sorts of sermons.
Call it burnout. Call it depression. Call it the doldrums. And by all means, do try to be specific, as each particular fatigue will have it's own set of remedies, it's own set of connective and causative tunnels serpentining through us that will require tracing and self-discovery. But regardless of causes or cures, the thing that can feel the most overwhelming, one might wager the thing that keeps us from addressing our own fatigue, is that awful, unrelenting realization: Sunday is coming.  
See the rest of the article here.

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