Luke wrote in with this article on how the youth worker’s concern for other’s spiritual lives often comes at the expense of our own. A good reminder today:
One thing I loved and have now learned to hate in youth ministry is how deathly honest kids are. Last year we were at youth camp and some kids were begging me to come bounce them on the “blob.” I was casually blowing them off with excuses like, “I got to pray for tonight.” (Always a good one) As one of our leaders casually walked by our conversation I said, “Here, Tom would be great at bouncing you.” The little jerk responded, “We don’t want him. You have gained some weight and the heavier the launcher, the further we fly.” After contemplating suicide in my family cabin all week long and swimming with my shirt on, (dead giveaway) I got home and decided to get into shape. As I began the “new me” I decided to do a new diet. Casually, as to not sound desperate, I asked one of my friends who is an amateur bodybuilder, “What’s the key to getting in shape?” His response was simple: “You are what YOU eat.”
Same is true in ministry. “You are YOUR ministry.” Many youth pastor’s struggle to maintain a healthy spiritual life because they are so consumed with the health of all their students. They are also distracted with all their other ministry responsibilities. Paul says in 1 Timothy 4:16, “Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.” The word “and” in the original Greek means “even.” Paul is saying our ministry to ourselves should be EQUAL or EVEN to our ministry to other people. The promise in scripture if we fulfill this calling is, “For in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.” You’re not going to burn out, but you are going to save yourself, and your teens. Here are some tips for YOU to become a better ministry!
1: READ FOR YOU! Make sure what you’re reading in your devotions is something OTHER THAN what you’re speaking on Sunday mornings or Wednesday nights.
2: PRAY FOR YOU! OK, OK …I understand you want bigger numbers. God understands it, and your Sr. Pastor definitely knows it. But the ticket to a monster ministry is not you asking God, but YOU getting intimate with God. You do this through prayer. The Bible tells us God will only bless us according to what we can handle. If you are faithful with the small, He will give you the big! Your ministry won’t explode to a 1000 until your faith has exploded to match it. Before you pray for your ministry and God’s blessing, you need to pray for faithfulness, purity, humility, and character in your own life.
3: HAVE YOUR OWN SABBATH! It was a sin in the Bible for not acknowledging the Sabbath… Yet most youth pastor’s I know don’t take a FULL day off. Relaxing Friday morning and going to a football game Friday night, then ice cream with students after is not a DAY off. This is important, make sure you have a SABBATH in your schedule each week.
4: HAVE A DATE NIGHT EVERY WEEK! (Good for YOU) Part of YOU is YOUR wife. Always remember: happy wife, happy life!!! Have a date night every week to keep the fire alive! The power of partnership is one of the most untapped strengths in ministry!
Grace to you all and I pray God continues to expand your Kingdom work!