A few years back I was training for my third marathon. The regimen leading up to the big race was grueling. I had to change my eating, sleeping, and exercise habits. Sacrifices in family, personal and even professional life were made. Keeping my training schedule were a priority. Finally, it got to be a little too much. I just remember refusing to run one day and then taking a break from the training for an entire 10 days. When I resumed training I had never felt better. The rest was well needed.
Youth ministry is a lot like preparing for a marathon. The days, the weeks and seasons can be grueling. Sacrifices are made and in the end you can hit a wall much like you do in running. Unfortunately, taking a break isn’t so easy because you need your job. While you might be able to take a step back (even away permanently) from a race you need to take the proper steps for REST.
REST as a youth minister means:
- Enjoying time with family.
- Spending time with God.
- Falling back in love with your calling.
There is no question there is more rest can bring; however, being able to find it is a totally different issue. In order to find rest you need to:
- Schedule It In: Sounds funny to schedule in rest; however, by putting in breaks you give yourself margin. During busy seasons you’ll use up that margin; however, when the pace truly slows down you will be able to take advantage of the “extra” time you’ve given yourself.
- Say “No”: There is a fear that by saying, “No.” you are telling people not to trust you. In reality you are embracing your limitations which is good. If you are overworked and have too much on your plate not only will you sacrifice the things you enjoy, but resent what it is you are doing. Find people to hold you accountable to saying this helpful word.
- Build Trust In Your Team: You need a team around you who will step up when you need to take a step back. This allows you to do the things that refresh and rejuvenate you. To truly trust your team you need to work on situations where you let them take on leadership, and ownership of the youth ministry. It’s ok if they fail and mess up, if you show them love and direction in return. A team you can trust is one that will help you rest.
Again, youth ministry can have a grueling pace. If it’s not approached with margin and limitations you’ll find yourself consistently burned out. Unfortunately, gaining rest isn’t as simple as laying your head down on a pillow, you need to take necessary steps. A youth minister who can rest, is one that can go the distance.
What steps do you take to find rest? What sabotages your efforts?
Chris Wesley (@chrisrwesley)