Wednesday, April 14, 2010

    Youth Leaders: Give Yourselves a Break!

    Let's face it.  While working with youth is a great calling and blessing,  it is also one of the most taxing ministries in the congregational church.   

    You are challenged week in and week out to come up with thoughtful, engaging studies and activities, to stay connected with the busy lives of your teens, to serve as Christian role model, to endure lock-ins and give up whole chunks of your summer to go on mission trips and counsel summer camp, all while meeting the expectations of the church you serve and the youth themselves. Sometimes we just need to give ourselves permission . . .

    . . . to not be all things to all people. (Despite what the apostle Paul might say, you can't always connect with every teen in your group. It's a simple matter of chemistry. Some will think you are the next best thing to sliced bread and others will never quite warm up to you. This is why it's so important to have a variety of adults in your ministry serving as spiritual mentors to youth).

     . . . to not feel like we are in competition with every other church in town. (Especially those with bigger and better youth facilities, flashier programs, or...fill in the blank).

     . . . to not play the numbers game. (Sometimes quality is a lot better than quantity -- It's not so important how many youth you have but rather what impact your ministry is having on their lives). 

    . . . to let the other leaders lead. (Spread the tasks around. Let other adults take on the Bible study, the game-leading, the planning of the lock-in.)

    . . .  to not run the most exciting youth program in town. (Is it a crime to bore teens? Some think so...but our calling is not to entertain but to lead youth closer to the heart of God. Sometimes that journey takes patience, attentiveness, hard work, sweat, and challenge. Should we short-change our ministries by feeling like everything has to be "fun" or "exciting?")

    . . . to observe some Sabbath. (Even the best leaders run out of energy, ideas, and motivation after awhile. If you are in ministry for the long-haul, be sure to take some time to reconnect with your spiritual center. This may mean skipping a youth group meeting, or simply sitting back one night and being a participant instead of a leader. You could get away to a training event where you can gather with others in youth ministry who can offer support and some new perspectives.  Or, it may just mean a walk in the woods and some time in prayer.)

    What else would you add to this list?


    just_me_tiff said...

    I needed this, thank you.