Judging by the ‘back to school’ posts on my social media timelines, school has started everywhere again. That means most youth ministries will be up and running again as well after the summer break.
Now, whether you are a slightly OCD type-A planner who has got every detail down for the whole season, or more of a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants type: I am certain you have some kind of schedule for your ministry—and thus for yourself. You know the programs and activities you’ve got scheduled, right?
But at the start of the season, there are three things that you have to schedule. Right now.
1. Schedule your Sabbath
I cannot stress it enough: Sabbaths don’t happen by themselves. Unless you set one day apart each week for your rest and recovery—it will not happen. Look at your weekly schedule and determine which day is best for your Sabbath. Then plan it, block it, and defend it with all your might.
2. Schedule your Break
You need more than one day of rest a week. You also need a longer break, preferably two weeks or longer. And by break I mean a complete break from your ministry, where you are not reachable unless someone is actually dying.
Too often, as youth pastors we feel like we can’t take a break, like our ministry is dependent on us and can’t or won’t function without us. That’s a dangerous attitude that is rooted in pride. It’s not our ministry—it belongs to God and you’d better believe He can do it without you.
You need this longer break to completely recover. Ministry is tough, both mentally, spiritually, and physically. I’ve just gotten back from a 10-day trip with my family and it’s done me a world of good. I’m much more focused, my energy is back, and so is my sense of humor 🙂
But if you don’t plan this trip way in advance and schedule it, it won’t happen. Make this a priority and do it now.
3. Schedule your Learning
I’m once again teaming up with the Youth Cartel to organize the second Women in Youth Ministry Campference in Aril 2016. I’m also involved in the organization of their Open Boston conference. You know what I see again and again? Youth workers don’t register till the last week because ‘they don’t know if they’ll be able to get away’.
Well, no. If you wait till your schedule miraculously clears up at the last moment, you’ll never be able to get away. You have to make your growth, your learning a priority.
So find two conferences this year that look appealing to you, where you can invest in your knowledge and in connecting with other youth workers. Then register and block your calendar. Commit to going and you’ll find that you’ll be able to go.
Schedule these three things first. Right now. Because you’re worth it, to quote a famous brand!