Youth Workers: The Honeymoon Is Over!!!

honeymoon1Do ministry on purpose! –  What use to be done automatically must now be done purposefully.  When you start dating someone everything is new and exciting. The time you put into the relationship seems effortless and everything flows perfectly.  Well, after a couple of weeks/months/years things aren’t as new as they once were and all the things that were cute early on become common.  All the things you did early on which came automatically now must be done purposefully.  Being thoughtful and considerate towards one another has to be done purposefully.  Because the more the relationship becomes common the more you lose those things. I believe it’s the same in ministry.  When you are young in the game of youth ministry everything is exciting. Loving on students is easy and when you see God doing something in their life, you are screaming “that’s awesome” and it gets you so pumped.  Then you get a few weeks/months/years into it and things become common.

  • You no longer reach out to the new students.
  • When God does something awesome in a student’s life you act excited but you’ve seen it happen a million times, so the enthusiasm and appreciation is not from the heart.
  • You stop fervently praying for students.
  • You no longer show genuine interest in the lives of students.
  • You become the “high-fiver’ that ask students, “how are you?” and hope they say fine so you don’t have to hear about their problems.

The list goes on and on.  When the newness of something goes away you have to become purposeful about it or you become noneffective.

Some areas you might have to be more purposeful in:

  • Reaching out to new students.
  • Being genuine in your enthusiasm and appreciation when a students life is changed.  Know that you are being used by God to change the course of someone’s life forever.
  • Praying for students fervently and expectantly. If you are spending 8 hours a day programming and only 5 minutes praying and seeking God for your students, ministry has possibly become to common.
  • Show a genuine interest in all the lives of your students not just the ones you know.
  • Seek out students who need your time and love.  Ask more detailed questions than just “how are you”.  Ask: how’s your family or how’s your walk with Christ?

What has helped me do ministry purposefully has been keeping a heart of thankfulness.  I have this exercise I do that helps me stay thankful.  I play three of my favorite worship songs and while they are playing I write down everything that I am thankful for.  The first song I write down the things I am thankful for concerning my family. The second song I write down the things I am thankful for concerning individual students, and then the third song I write down the things that I’m thankful for concerning ministry.  When I am done I can visually see all things I have to be thankful for.  Seeing how God has used me in the lives of others gets me excited about what else God can do with my life.  Knowing that I don’t deserve the blessings God has chosen to bless me with reignites the fire for ministry and life in Christ for me.  I do ministry purposefully when I’m reflective and thankful.

So if you can see yourself in this post and you feel like you are just going through the motions, think about what areas you need to do ministry purposefully.  My prayer is that this post starts conversations that moves people back into a healthy place in ministry.  The honeymoon phase of ministry is over, now what?

hope it helps

ac

For Students: God Which College Should I Go To?!?!

woman praying silhoutteChoosing the right school becomes a huge concern for a lot of students right around this time.  I’m sure God gets this question a lot, so don’t feel like you are alone if this has been on your mind.  I do think scripture gives us insight on how God views our lives on earth.  I believe scripture shows us that God is more concerned with where He is in our life, than where we are in life.  The bible says in Matthew 6:33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  A lot of times we are seeking out where we want to be in life.  God is saying, “if I am where I’m suppose to be in your life, you will be where you’re suppose to be in life”.

praying-1bThe bible also tells us that God definitely has a purpose for our life.  Jeremiah 29:11 says For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  So if it’s your hearts desire to be used by God, He will use you, no matter where you go.  Allow God to be God and He’ll take care of the rest.  So put God where He’s suppose to be and you will be where you’re suppose to be.  Here are three things I apply to my decision making process.

  1. I commit the process to God. – Proverbs 16:3 Commit your work to the LORD, and then your plans will succeed.  You must understand that college is not the end; it’s a means to an end.  College will be a part of the story of your life.
  2. I trust God through the process. – Proverbs 3:5,6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.  
  3. I trust him with my choice. – Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

hope it helps

ac

 

7 Steps To Navigating The Craziness!!!

Issues and ConcernsFirst of all, there are no quick fixes.  Had a conversation with one of my life group leaders that was having issues with one of her students. Her student has been through some very tough things in her life, and my leader wanted to know how should she began to care for and support her student.  I shared with her a few things she could do and so I thought I’d share them with you.

  1. Prayer – Praying for the Holy Spirit to lead and guide the conversation is so important.  The bible says in Ephesians 6:12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.  So you’re not just talking things through and everything’s all good.  You are going to battle with forces in the student’s life that wants to keep them where they are.  It’s a spiritual battle not a physical one.  You need to be prepared and ready.  You need wisdom only God can give (James 1:5), so prayer, prayer and more prayer should be your weapon of choice.
  2. Active listening – The currency to being heard.  Active listening is more than just not talking and hearing the other person.  There is a certain posture you carry when you actively listen. You are sitting and/or standing facing the person.  You are looking them in the eye, and if you are sitting you are sitting on the edge of your seat giving them your undivided attention. When you are actively listening you are very slow to speak.
  3. Empathy – You don’t have to fix or give instructions right away.  Mourn with them/cry with them/sit in silence with them.  Allow your presence the opportunity to comfort them.  We might not even know it but God uses our presence in peoples lives to just be a comfort to them.  Which is not easy because we want to say that word or sentence that puts them back on track.  The bible says in Romans 12:15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.  Sometimes students know what they need to do but just need the presence of someone as comfort.
  4. Give Holy Spirit inspired guidance – The reason why I used “Holy Spirit inspired” is because you should be seeking God to give you what they need to hear.  Sometimes it’s not what you say, but how you say what you say that makes the difference.  Sometimes you are just there to help them find the answer themselves.  Allow God to guide.  Whatever guidance you give them think baby steps.
  5. Refer when necessary – Don’t be afraid to refer students and parents to professionals.  Even though you refer them you still have a job to do.  You support them with prayer and your presence.
  6. Set Boundaries(Very Necessary) – A lot of times we get all the other points but then we forget to set boundaries and we burn out.  Students who lack attention from the proper channels will abuse the attention you give them.  They don’t do it on purpose, its just the way it is.  You must set boundaries for the sake of your spiritual and relational well-being.  You will be spiritually drained and all of your relationships will be affected because you are literally being drained by one person who is dealing with issues that must be dealt with responsibly.
  7. Don’t do it on your own – This must be a group effort between you and the parents.  Bring other trusted leaders into the mix to pray and maybe even spend time with the student.  The parents need to be in the loop every step of the way.  How much you share with the parents depends on the situation.  My rule of thumb is “when in doubt, tell them”.

What would you add to this list?

hope it helps

ac