Want to make your spouse happy and be in youth ministry for a long time? 3-4 times a year spend an hour or two synchronizing your family + youth ministry calendars together. Spent some time this morning doing the same!
Michael Conaway sent along a great post his wife wrote on her blog that I really enjoyed this morning. You Might be a Youth Pastor’s Wife If is a fun post, totally relatable that begs for you to add a couple of your own. Here’s a couple of my favorites, head there for the rest:
1. You schedule your pregnancies around youth camp. Being down one parent every other week for 2 months is difficult enough, no need to add a newborn to the picture.
5. When your toddler says “crap” in the church nursery and you let the nursery workers assume she heard it from the teenagers…even though you know where she REALLY heard it…mental note to self stop saying “crap”.
10. Taking students home after church becomes a game to beat your best time and not cross the midline of town more than once. Students are divided based on gender and location. Who takes which vehicle is based on who has to take more students home.
This week we’re on the topic of time off—and one of the best ways to make sure you use your vacation time in the hectic youth ministry world is to plan your vacation: RIGHT NOW.
That’s right…put some dates on the family and church calendar today and reserve your right to get away. Look for an opening (if you’re like us there will only be a couple of choices anyhow), and stake your claim.
Plan a weekend getaway.
Weekends off in the church context are rare, so find something fun to do that will really refresh you to keep going in the long haul. If you’re smart you’ll find a 3-day weekend and really make something special out of it. Make some memories in those 48-hours you’re off the grid.
Plan some time with just your spouse.
We’re shocked at how often we hear our fellow youth workers share that it has been YEARS since they slipped away for a night with their spouse… without their kids. Getting alone time isn’t easy, but it’s well worth it (for all sorts of reasons!). Can’t get away overnight? How about a regular date night? Can’t afford a regular date night? Then do it on the cheap (Netflix, anyone?), but DO IT.
Plan something refreshing right after the busiest season.
After summer camp you need to build in some comp time for yourself. Give yourself a day or two break when you come off a big event to acclimate to the real world. This summer we both took some extended time off after one of the busiest seasons of ministry we’ve ever had. And we planned it months ago so our families knew the reprieve was coming soon.
Your context and freedoms are different than ours, but grab your calendar right now and block out something next month and something next year. No joke. Do it right now!
This post was written by Josh Griffin and Kurt Johnston and originally appeared as part of Simply Youth Ministry Today free newsletter. Subscribe to SYM Today right here.
Being married in youth ministry is not an easy thing – but it has to be one of the very top priorities in your life. Would love to know how your marriage is doing here at the beginning of fall – vote now!
This is my favorite week of the year – I’m sitting in a hotel room in Palm Desert at our annual Student Ministries Retreat. It is a life-giving week that our church gives the people who serve youth workers and their spouses. While we have no formal sabbatical (how do I get in on that, come on!) but this is so generous.
So I’ve got a few blog posts set to land while I’m gone – but thought a quick list of a few past articles about vacation, comp time and retreat might be helpful. Here’s some of my favorite stuff on this topic in the past here on MTDB:
I read about a jillion (with a “j”) blog posts every week. There are a ton of different blogs I subscribe to, but here are my favorites from 2011:
DougFields.com – I’m so glad my friend Doug Fields got into the blogging game. He is the best blogger in youth ministry and I read his stuff, every word of every post, because it is brilliant. OK, I skip some of it just like you do on my blog – but it is filled with incredible youth ministry, marriage and leadership insights and is not to be missed. Best new blog of the year!
DougFranklin.com – solid blog from LeaderTreks’ Doug Franklin doesn’t stray much from the student leadership drumbeat. Solid, consistent posts that are easy to rip off and share with your volunteers like you wrote it yourself!
Learning My Lines – Walk Mueller is in youth ministry culture, and cares about it more deeply than I ever will. I love that I can get up to speed on issues and influences of teenagers in seconds.
Glass House Spouse – Another GREAT new blog – this one focuses on the spouse of someone in ministry. Honest, funny, candid – I love it, my only hope would be that it becomes daily in 2012.
More Than Gossip - My friend Neely McQueen is doing some great work on her blog More Than Gossip. She’s always got an insight or observation from her focused ministry to girls. I learn a lot from her and appreciate the heart she puts into the site. Check it out!
What was your favorite blog in 2011?
Really enjoyed Benjer McVeigh’s post on the 5 things you should want in any youth ministry when you strip everything else away – some really good stuff in there. Here’s a clip of it, head there for the rest:
1. A great marriage. One of the biggest strengths for me in ministry is my wife, Jennifer. She’s an amazing encouragement, and when I give her, our marriage, and our family the time and energy they deserve, ministry just seems to go a lot smoother.
2. A passionate, visionary senior pastor who is passionate about people knowing Jesus. Thankfully, this one is true for me where I am right now. A lot of youth pastors wish their senior pastor would support them and the youth ministry more. Those are probably good things, but I think it simply starts with a senior pastor who is passionate about people knowing Jesus, which helps determine the direction of his/her church’s youth ministry.
3. A core group of parents who believe that they should be the primary disciplers of their children. Look, we know that this is how it’s supposed to work: parents should be the primary disciplers of their children, including their teenagers. A group of parents who were passionate about this would be a huge asset in helping other parents grow in this area. Of course, not all parents will want to disciple their kids–or will even have a relationship with Jesus for that matter. But it doesn’t mean we don’t set it up as the ideal.
Was talking with my wife this week about eating family dinners around the table and she suggested it be a good poll for the week here on MTDB. So, understanding that “family dinner” means something different to people in various life stages – how many nights a week do you eat around the dinner table?