It’s a nice cool morning here in Baltimore, something we don’t get too often in the summer, and as I prepare to speak all day and then run a work camp for middle school students this week I begin to ponder, “How did I get here?” That question isn’t meant to be negative in any way, but sometimes it’s just nice to stop and think about the path that we have taken. I’ve done this youth ministry thing for about 6 years, I use to think that was a long time in ministry, but the more youth workers I get to know the more I’m realizing many of us are in this for the long haul. I’ve also realized how my perception of a few things have changed over the years. Now with a couple of years under my belt I realize that I plan meetings different, conduct my work week in a whole new style and build relationships differently from before. So what have I discovered:
- Meetings with Ministers – They should be prayerful. I use to get bogged down with the idea of fitting as much information into a meeting as possible, but I’m realizing more and more they need to include time to pray and reflect. After all isn’t that the example we are trying to lead? Isn’t that what Christ did first? He prayed and then He taught. So when you create your meeting agenda, start it off and end it with prayer time, not a prayer, but prayer time.
- Managing Time – Don’t fill your schedule just to have a schedule. Before you start planning what your week looks like ask yourself, “When am I most tired?”, “When am I the best critical thinker?”, “When can I day dream?”, etc. By asking those questions you’ll know what to do when during your week and during your day. A schedule gives your job more purpose and it leads you towards your vision. But make sure their is margin, so that if family, work project or life happens you can recover just a little quicker.
- Collaborate Outside Your Church – Don’t just plan with other youth workers, but grow. It’s great when you can form personal relationships with other church ministers outside your church. I’ve got a few people that I meet up with, simply to talk about life. We don’t plan events we just get together to share life, talk about ministry, vent a little, it’s very therapeutic. There’s nothing competitive about it, no one tries to impress the other, it’s a time for us to build one another and laugh together.
I know there are thousands of veteran youth workers out there who have seen their perception change. What has changed in your mindset over your tenure of youth ministry?