It’s a dinner time with family when your cell phone rings. You don’t recognize the number but you know it has something to do with work. You ask yourself the question, “Do I need to answer this?”
As a youth minister you want to be available for your teens, and their parents. But, you also know you have to protect your time, and your personal relationships. There will always be tension, the question is how do you balance it all?
INCREASE YOUR TEAM
You cannot be everywhere with everyone. The best way to expand your capacity is to expand your team. Recruit people who can partner with parents. Find volunteers that will be extensions of your leadership, so that you don’t always have to be on.
CLARIFY YOUR SCHEDULE
People will respect your boundaries if they know when your available. Let people know when is the best time to reach you and when it’s impossible. Clarify why they can reach out to you during your off limits as well. It will take a lot of repetition but eventually they will catch on.
LEARN TO DISCONNECT
Sometimes you set yourself up for failure by refusing to disconnect. Create a Sabbath or boundaries for yourself by:
- Disconnecting from technology.
- Not checking voicemail or email.
- Doing something that relaxes or fuels you.
- Spending time with God.
By creating sacred space you allow yourself time to breathe. When you breathe it slows everything down. When everything slows down you have the prudence to know when to be avaialble.
Look for people to help you create guardrails. They can be wise counsel when you aren’t sure how to make a decision. You accountability team will let you know when you need to be available and when it’s okay to say, “No.”
STOP FEELING GUILTY
Guilt will prevent you from making confident decisions. You’ll constantly wonder, “Am I letting anyone down?” In the end no decision will feel good.
To avoid guilt, know your priorities and admit that you will sometimes be wrong. When guild does emerge:
- Acknowledge it
- Offer it to God
- And move on
You will make the wrong decision, but it’s okay. Just seek forgiveness and ask for God’s grace to move through it. Don’t let the guilt paralyze you from being available and creating healthy boundaries.
MAKE GOD NUMBER ONE
When you put your relationship with God first He’s going to help you discern. Ask Him for wisdom on when to be available and when to set limits. Pray that He surrounds you with the right people. Ask for clarity over and over again.
God is on your side and He will make sure that what you need is what will happen. You just need to trust that is what He will do.
There will always be a tension. Just make sure you do not ignore it. Embrace it, lean in and have a plan and the people around you to move your forward. As you grow in ministry you’ll start to see more clearly when to say, “No.” and when to make yourself more available.
Question: How do you decide when to be available to others and when to set boundaries? You can leave a comment by clicking here.