Post-Easter Blues

Most pastors and church leaders will tell you that Easter is one of their favorite Sundays of the year.  I often refer to Easter as the “Super Bowl” of Christian worship.  Most churches pull out all stops with their Easter services–special music, a special message, special programming, maybe even a different venue.  Many churches add an additional service, and Easter is usually one of the highest-attended worship services in a year.  The atmosphere is one of excitement and anticipation, and for good reason.  What could be a greater cause for celebration than the resurrection of Jesus Christ?

You might think that a large attendance, a big production, a chance to passionately share the gospel, and an opportunity to rejoice because Jesus is alive would mean that pastors go home from Easter Sunday on cloud nine.  It may come as a surprise to learn that many, many pastors contemplate quitting the ministry the day after Easter.  The “post-Easter blues” aren’t logical, but they are real.  We lie awake Easter night wondering if all the work, the expense, and the production was worth it.  We are keenly aware of every little misspoken word, missed cue or other minor mistake.  We will have a list a mile long of ways it could’ve been better before the Easter ham has been eaten off our dinner plate.  While our kids are hunting for Easter eggs on Sunday afternoon, our minds are divided–still half-focused on the service, and wondering if any of the decisions to follow Jesus that were made were genuine.  We may be irritable and snap at friends and family members–only a few hours after exalting the risen Christ in worship!  And on Monday, the day after Easter, many pastors will seriously consider resigning from their pastorate to pursue a career in the “real world.”

I’m not writing this so you’ll feel sorry for pastors.  My purpose is to ask you to encourage your pastor this week.  He/she could use a kind word and a compliment.  Trust me, your pastor will hear plenty of criticism about the service–the music was too loud, we didn’t sing my favorite hymn, the sermon was too long, the coffee was too weak, we didn’t advertise enough, we shouldn’t embarrass people by asking them to raise their hands to accept Jesus… you name it, people will criticize it.  That’s why it’s important for you to break the mold and say an encouraging word to your pastor this week.  Here are just a few suggestions:

Write a thank you card.  You’d be surprised at how effective a simple handwritten note can be.  Knowing that you took the time to grab a card, physically write a message, and drop it off at the church office is like a ray of sunshine in the dark night of the soul.  A hand-written note is not an afterthought, and that makes it meaningful.

Send a text, email or Facebook message.  A lot of what we get via email and Facebook is negative.  A positive message will stand out like the first blossom of Spring after a long Winter.

Post on Facebook or Twitter about how much you enjoyed the service–and give the credit to God. Pastors are encouraged when we hear how God moved someone in a service, and especially when we see our members glorifying God in it.  Plus, your post is also an encouragement to all the volunteers who worked to create the service. And, it advertises to your non-church-going friends that you had a great experience in worship today, and they may be inclined to ask you about it.

Make a brief phone call. Be specific about what you thought went well in the service.  It doesn’t have to be long, and it doesn’t need to be over the top or flowery.  It can be short and simple and, most importantly, genuine.

Some of you may know how many hours your pastor put into planning and studying and organizing the Easter service.  It’s likely that he/she worked many late nights meeting with volunteer leaders and making sure the details were taken care of…  and then woke up before the sun to pray and study Scripture.  Your pastor’s family also felt the strain of Easter Sunday with a spouse/parent who was suddenly a lot busier and didn’t have as much time to help around the house.

In love, your pastor sacrificed a lot to bring about a great Easter Sunday worship service.  And, for whatever silly reason, your pastor may be struggling with the post-Easter blues, and may even be considering resigning.  So, I am asking you to throw a little love your pastor’s way this week, and let God use to you encourage one of His weary servants.  Thanks!

Photo courtesy of

It Doesn’t Get Much Better Than This

I recently returned from an incredible mission trip to Guatemala.  I went with 22 other people from PBC to serve with Dan & Christi Ucherek, missionaries with Orphan Outreach.  Dan & Christi grew up at PBC and are well loved by everyone who went on the trip.  In addition to getting to do ministry again with my close friends, I had several other experiences on the trip that make this past week easily one of the most amazing (if not the most amazing) week of being a pastor I’ve ever had.

The last day of the trip was perhaps the best day a pastor could ever have.  After all the ministry, brokenness, grace and emotions we’d experienced all week, the trip culminated with a worship service and baptisms.  I got to preach and then baptize ten beautiful young ladies (pictured above).  I still get butterflies remembering it.  We stood in a kiddie pool, shivering in the pouring rain, 7,000ft above sea level on the side of a dormant volcano.  Gorgeous flowers, trees, mountains and volcanoes formed the backdrop, and close to 100 people were there cheering the girls on.  I asked each young lady if Jesus was their Lord, and they answered, “Siempre!” Always!  Thinking about their stories, the challenges they’ve overcome, the pain they’ve experienced, and the grace by which they can now worship with smiles on their faces as they proclaim their faith in Christ brings tears to my eyes.  As far as pastoring goes, it doesn’t get much better than this!

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Through your great mercy you caused us to be born again into a living hope and a future inheritance through the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. Your love is steadfast and faithful, abounding lavishly upon your children. May you bless Rosario, Fernanda, Yuri, Keiry, Lidia, Angelica, Raquel, Celeste, Doris and Chloe. Thank you.

Here are some other highlights from the trip.

  • The mission team did an incredible job.  They planned the programming, led the ministry events, preached the gospel, prayed with people, shared their personal stories, and led devotionals.  These activities were firsts for many on the team, but they stepped out of their comfort zones and offered it up to God.  It was AWESOME!
  • I got to worship with Dan & Christi at their church.  Pastor Merari Rodriguez preached a incredible message, and I just loved the music.
  • Every night we had team devotionals and worship.  It was so peaceful, and everyone sang passionately!  No one was embarrassed that someone next to them might hear them sing.  No one cared whether or not they were a good singer.  We offered our hearts and minds to the Lord with an acoustic guitar and a box drum, and the Holy Spirit filled the place.
  • While visiting homes to deliver groceries and pray for people, two women accepted Christ as their Savior! Hallelujah!
  • The Orphan Outreach staff and translators were fabulous. They did their jobs with marvelous efficiency, and watching them interact with the kids it was obvious this wasn’t just their “job,” it was their ministry.

Really Cool

“And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry” (Eph. 4:11-12).

Today I got to see firsthand what Paul was talking about in Ephesians 4.  As the worship arts pastor, I’m usually the one up front leading the band and the congregation.  But this morning a friend and little sister in Christ led me and our church in worship.  Alli Leacock usually plays bass and sings harmony, but today she picked up the acoustic and led our congregation to a place of worship.

To be honest, the biggest way I’ve been able to “equip” Alli is just to get out of the way!  She didn’t need much pushing from me to do something God gifted her to do, just the opportunity and a little moral support.  As a leader and a pastor, I think I have a tendency to get stuck in the way and try to do everything myself.  But, leading is not about always doing whatever needs done yourself.  Leading is about empowering, enabling, and encouraging others to do it.  And sometimes that means just getting out of the way to let an up and coming young leader lead!