When do you get tired in youth ministry? I am usually exhausted in November and June. These are two busy seasons for my ministry and I need to guard my heart and soul from burnout. I know a ton of youth workers who are burnt out, jaded, and frusterated in ministry. If you are feeling a little burnt I would recommend reading this series: Redeeming Rest.
As youth workers we need to stay fresh, and stay alive spiritually so we can keep God first, and lead the students we are called to. I/we can’t lead anyone on empty.
I hope that we don’t just plan a busy summer to keep ourselves busy. Busyness isn’t something we should be worried about. We should be asking if we are being fruitful in our ministry. In my last ministry position, my summers were about keeping students busy, and it was making me busy. I was exhausted! The events in the summer has no point or purpose. When I evaluated why we did them, we decided to ditch summer events altogether. I was more concerned with being fruitful with my time, and not being busy.
Don’t be busy this summer, be fruitful!
Here are a few ways to stay fresh in this season of ministry:
1. Switch up your Bible reading. I have a year Bible reading plan, but in the summer I add different things to it. It could be as simple as switching the translation. Adding a new reading plan at youversion. You could take a course from Reformed Theological Seminary(free on itunes).
2. Plan down time. I will plan into my youth ministry calendar times to rest. There are seasons to slow down. Usually these season will include a time of reflection on the past few months. Every summer I plan no events because students don’t show up to them. My goal this summer is to meet every student one-on-one. I know for most of you summer is the busy season. I would recommend that in the margins of your summer ministry calendar you plan rest.
3. Take a 24 hour prayer retreat. I stumbled on to this idea a few years ago while reading Marko’s blog. It was right when he was leaving Youth Specialities and he talked about taking a retreat away. From then on I have been trying to take at least one retreat every quarter in my ministry. I need these times away to get refreshed, and seek God for the next season in ministry. I realized that I am not great at retreats and taking sabbath. This is something I will always have to work on.
4. Pray. Pray to be refreshed. Pray for God to renew your passion for Him and His Word. There are tons of cool apps out there to help you pray. This summer I am going to try to start a new tradition of waking up early and grabbing a cup of coffee, a Bible, and spending extra time each day with Jesus. The summer allows for new routines, and schedules.
5. Disconnect from technology. I often wonder who is controlling who when it comes to technology. I need times when I am completely unplugged. These times for me are on holidays. I am not on facebook, and I don’t go on twitter. I need to unwind, and technology is a major distraction. When do you disconnect? Or are you always connected?
I pray that this summer you would be refreshed, and recharged for the next ministry season. Don’t burn yourself out to keep yourself busy.