Don’t Overlook the Physical Prep You’ll Need for Sundays

Preaching is great, but don’t underestimate the physical demands.

For those who preach, Sunday is the greatest of all days. I absolutely love Sundays. Despite my love for them, Sundays take an enormous amount of energy.

When I began preaching, I dramatically underestimated its physical dimension. All of my energy went into preparing my soul and the sermon through study and prayer. It’s hard to fault this, at one level. However, my ignoring of the physical part of my being left me feeling irritable, tired and useless to my family for the rest of Sundays.

On Mondays, I felt as though I had been up all night—I was tired, my throat was hoarse and I was grumpy. I also began to realize that ignoring my physical being made me a poorer preacher. I had less energy, less mental clarity, and though I’m a major extrovert—less desire to be around people. Why? I was just tired.

Some experts put the physical toll of preaching a 30-minute sermon at an eight-hour work day (physical labor). Think about that—all of that work jammed into 30 minutes. For those who preach multiple services, the toll can be enormous.

I have friends that take weekly shots of vitamins, experience chronic pain from depleted adrenaline, and a host of other physical problems because of the toll preaching takes on them. Most of them are among the most disciplined people I know—which is why they are seeking ways to solve this unsustainable pace. Nevertheless, preaching just takes a lot of energy.

Pay attention to the physical side of preaching. If you are a church member, consider passing this along to your minister, and incorporating this into your life as a worshiper. What can be said of preachers can also often be said of worshipers. If you are tired or in poor health during worship, it will impact you more than you think.

Over the years, I’ve developed a process for preparing myself physically for Sundays. It’s made a huge difference in the joy factor of Sundays—and the speed of my recovery after preaching. Here it is:

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Five Ways to Prepare for Sunday Physically

1. Be Mindful of Your Health Every Day.

If you aren’t exercising, eating properly or sleeping enough, this isn’t just impacting your preaching. It’s impacting your entire life—whether you realize it or not. If I go into Sundays in good health, the foundation is already laid. Simply eating sanely, getting enough rest and staying active will do more for your physical well-being than a thousand sit-ups. It’s basic, but VITAL to consistent preaching.

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Tim Spivey
Dr. Tim Spivey is Lead Planter of New Vintage Church in San Diego, California, a fast-growing plant launched in 2011. Tim is also the purveyor of New Vintage Leadership, a blog offering cutting edge insights on leadership and theology and the author of numerous articles and one book: Jesus, the Powerful Servant.