Hey Simply Insiders!
There are many different ways that we youth workers can grow. We can pursue higher education, read the newest youth ministry books, mentor under a more seasoned youth worker, or attend training events and conferences, like the awesome one Simply has coming up in March. But as many of us seek to grow, we often forget a key person who can aid our maturity and development: our spouse.
Sure, many of our spouses may not have training or experience in youth ministry, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have fantastic insight into what we do and who we are.
To be honest, I (Jake) can’t tell you of another relationship that has challenged me more to grow as a youth pastor than my marriage. If it weren’t for Melissa, I would have burnt out of youth ministry long ago. But over the years, I’ve learned to listen to my wife’s wisdom about how I needed to develop better boundaries, create healthier work habits, and put God first in my ministry.
If it weren’t for Melissa’s advice, there would be kids in my youth group who dropped off the map. She shares with me different perspectives on how to handle conversations with teens and navigate sticky situations with parents. And she can do this because she witnesses the ministry day in and day out; she understands the deeper stuff that a professor or mentor might not fully grasp.
And if it weren’t for Melissa, my sermons and teaching wouldn’t be nearly as good, because I wouldn’t have had the years of honest, constructive criticism that she gives me after meetings.
Even though I’m the one with the youth ministry degree and a decade of experience, I’ve come to see that my wife is one of my best sources for personal growth in ministry. I ignore her at my peril!
But seriously, many of us youth workers could greatly benefit from listening more to our husbands and wives. So as you think about both ministry and personal growth, try asking yourself the following questions:
1. Do you go to your spouse for feedback and thoughts, even if they don’t serve in the youth ministry with you? Do you take their advice seriously?
2. Is there something your spouse has been telling you lately about yourself or your ministry, that maybe you should pay more attention to?
3. Are there ways that you can check in with your spouse about healthy ministry habits and solicit their counsel on how you’re doing?
Thanks for loving each other and for loving students!
Jake and Melissa Kircher