Who Is Pouring Into You?

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Over a year ago I started co-leading a men’s small group.  I wasn’t sure what my wife would think.  I wondered because the group was to meet at 6:15am in our house.  Fortunately we have a finished basement and because the group rotates host homes she had no issues with it.  In fact we’ve both benefited from this men’s group more than what I’ve put into it.  Each week I have a group of men, representing different generations pouring into me.

This group not only helps me as a son of God, but a husband, father and youth minister.  In a career field that can receive a lot of criticism and adversity, it’s in my small group that I receive solace, encouragement and strength.
If you are in youth ministry you need people pouring into you because you are constantly emptying yourself out for others.  Extroverted or introverted, this is a calling that will suck you dry if you don’t have the correct support system.  The problem with forming this support system is that many of us don’t know what one looks like.  An ideal support system needs to have different level of support.  Your support system should include most if not all of the following:

  • Small Group – While any small group will work, my recommendation is that you find one that is same sex and made up of different generations.  The reason for diverse generations is because you need wisdom that is both spiritual and experiential.  And, the reason for same sex is because there are some issues that can only go so deep with the opposite sex (Unless that person is your spouse).  In the end you need a small group because your faith and confidence will grow as people pray for you and share life with you.
  • Network Of In The Trenches Workers – There are only so many books and blogs that you can read (Hopefully this one is on the list), eventually you will need living and breathing support from the men and women who understand your world.  It’s in a network of youth ministers that you can not only share battle stories, but learn from veterans who have traveled the road you are trudging through.
  • Professional Coach – Just because what you are doing is ministry doesn’t mean it can’t be professional.  There is so much a youth minister needs to know when it comes to conduct and procedures in the workplace.  A professional coach will help you understand interpersonal relationships in an office setting.  They will help you approach contract negotiations, when to leave and how to grow in your career field.  They are the perfect source to go to when you have questions about managing volunteers or asking for a salary increase.
  • Spiritual Coach – Working in a church doesn’t make you spiritual, in fact you need someone holding you accountable.  While you might rely on your pastor to do this, it’s best to have someone with an outside perspective.  You need someone who is going to give you exercises that will challenge the depth of your relationship with God.  They will be essential when the lines between work and personal growth are blurred.
Your most important support systems should come from family and friends.  It’s also important to have support from your pastor.  However, you can’t put all the pressure on them, and you’ll also need the wisdom and advice of people looking in from the outside.  The more support you can gather around yourself the more confidence you will build.  And when you are confident in yourself, in God and the people around you, you will thrive.
What other support systems surround you?

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  • Aaron Helman says:

    I completely echo everything you said here – especially about needing a Professional Coach. (It’s not more important than the others, just the one that is most often missed.)

    Love to see a post sometime about how to find and build a relationship with a Professional Coach.

    • Aaron,
      Thanks for the feedback and the suggestion. I’ll work on creating a post that talks about getting a professional coach. In my experience it’s not too difficult; but, there are things to look for. But, to get started look in your own church, chances are someone is one or at least knows one.