One of the biggest failures in youth ministry today is that lack of soul care of the average youth worker. One of my first lessons in soul care was when I was part of a guys small group in university. The professor who was leading this group opened himself up by sharing this intimate story with us;
I have been doing this guys bible study each week for the past number of years and each year it has grown in size and in impact. Last night my wife asked me, “when are you going to care for the spirirtual shape of our marriage like you do with the guys in your bible study?”
I was astonished at his honesty but it also caused me to think, as a single university student, who is caring for my soul? Who is caring for my spiritual growth? Who is responsible for the daily relationship I have with God? It’s not my pastor, not my small group leader, not my friend, etc… It is completely up to me!
Now that I’m married and have a family I realize that being in youth ministry that their are many distractions that can keep me from my own personal soul care.
Distractions from Soul Care
- Personal: my hobbies, TV, movies, internet, iPhone, etc…
- Family: schedules, after school activities, meal time, sickness, hospital visits, driving everywhere, etc…
- Work/Orginizational: performance pressure, commute, eating out, leadership, changes, etc…
- Cultural: where you live, your friends, family culture, finances, books you read, etc…
- Ministry: paid/not-paid volunteer, church politics, budget, vision direction, etc…
What distractions most threaten you? Why?
The bigger problem is even with all those distractions listed above preventing you from caring for your soul is the biggest distraction of them all. EXPECTATION! This one transcends into every possible distraction that you have in your life.
I now the verse, “Be still…” Psalm 46:10 and there are many things in this world that cause me to take a pause in my life. One of those things is any two-stroke motorcycles. Especially any Harley Davidson that is driving down the road or parked. They bring instant pause in my life. But do you take pause in your life for your relationship with God. How can we expect to introduce students to a personal relationship with God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit if you don’t have one?
So What’s the Answer?
- Time Management: family, work, etc…
- Eating: eat healthy, put a menu plan together for your family, stop eating so much fast food! (Why are youth pastors seen as overweight?)
- Exercise: this needs to be in your weekly schedule 3-5 times a week for 30minutes max.
Pain that Heals
Here are a few things you should have in your life as a youth worker if your are paid or volunteer:
- Sabbath Rest
- Lectio Divina
Make room in your life by looking at what needs be removed from your life. If you are not willing to go through the pain that these things may bring in to your life, I will guarantee you one thing: burnout!
Youth ministry is not hard, if you continue in your current pattern you will not be in youth ministry much longer.