Easter is hard on pastors

Thom Rainer posted eleven reasons pastors struggle when Easter Sunday comes around.

  1. The day is often overwhelmingly busy.
  2. The pressure to “do stresswell” is increased.
  3. Finding a unique approach to the Easter story is not easy.
  4. Pastors see members they haven’t seen since last Easter.
  5. Pastors see “lostness” come in the door . . . and leave unchanged.
  6. Pastors get a glimpse of what the church could be . . . but typically isn’t.
  7. Pastors often judge their own sermons more critically on Easter.
  8. Pastors brag about Easter attendance.
  9. Attendance expectations may not be met.
  10. Monday morning letdown can follow Easter.
  11. Some pastors have no resurrection joy themselves.

I especially resonate with Reason #2–the pressure to “do well” on Easter Sunday is intense. More people are sitting in our pews on Resurrection Sunday. We think to ourselves, “If I do well, they’ll come back.” We feel compared to other pastors and worry that our performance won’t match up. Even our own faithful members are hoping for an extra-good display of our gifts, especially if they brought friends and family along.

It’s tempting to find our identity in the comments people give us after the service: “Great sermon, pastor! God really spoke through you today, pastor!” Our innate sense of self-importance, our vanity, the expectations of fellow fallen people, and the devil himself conspire to make Easter Sunday anything but a day of gladness and celebration for pastors.

Here are words from God that may help you get through the Easter weekend with joy: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, i will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior” (Isaiah 43:1-3a, ESV).

If you’re reading this and you’re not a pastor, pray for your pastoral team this weekend. You may be unaware of the burdens they are carrying.

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