Archives For margin

My first break up was painful.  I remember my stomach being in knots, my mind was a blurred and I thought life was over.  I remember talking to a friend and they reminded me, “There are plenty of fishes in the sea.”  I wanted to smack him.  Even though I didn’t think the pain would ever end, it eventually did.

Youth ministry can have periods of pain when you wonder, “Will this ever be over?”  It’s in those moments when you consider quitting and question your calling.  Ministry in general is emotionally, spiritually and physically exhausting because you deal with lives.  It does not take long for anyone to experience some type of a painful situation.  Some of those moments deal with: Continue Reading…

Discovering Rest

September 2, 2013 — 1 Comment

Labor Day is that last moment of rest before hitting the grind of the fall.  It’s a day where my family grills great food, hangs out and just enjoys the time away from work.  In a way it’s a Sabbath, which at times are hard to observe.  I know there have been seasons in my life where I haven’t paused and it’s worn me out.  

Youth ministry is a marathon and you need to find a sustainable pace.  And while it’s important to move forward it’s important to find those moments of rest so that you can endure for the long haul.  The problem is discovering those moments and taking advantage of them.  To find rest you need to: Continue Reading…

Guard Your Time

August 28, 2013 — 1 Comment

The last couple of weeks have been brutal as we get ready for a new season of student ministry.  Even though the day still has 24 hours it feels like my time and margin have been cut by 70%.  During these seasons of busyness it’s important to guard your time.  Anytime a new season approaches the amount of work to get done and people to contact exponentially grows.  If you aren’t watching your margin you’ll crash and burn quickly.

Every youth minister needs to prepare before entering a busy season.  If unprepared those seasons can seem endless and can be dangerous to the longevity of a youth minister.  When this happens it’s important to take a step back, reevaluate your priorities and get some guidance.  To avoid the mess of an endless busy season it’s important guard your time by: Continue Reading…

A few years ago I made the mistake of planning a vacation right before a middle school work camp (Or was it planning the work camp after vacation?).  The week before any youth ministry event is filled with last minute details, phone calls and emails.  I had volunteers, parents and vendors contacted me when I should have been enjoying the beach with family.  Let’s just say I came back from vacation in need of another.

Your rest is important and one the best ways you can refresh yourself is through vacation.  For some of you the perfect vacation is on the beach, others it’s in the mountain and for some of you it’s just catching up on all four seasons of Arrested Development.  No matter where you go or what you do it’s important to protect it and you do that by:

  • Turn It Off: It’s hard to turn off all the noise going on in your life.  Vacation is the perfect time to disconnect from work and the rest of the world.  That might mean turning off the computer, and putting down the phone (After you read this post…of course).  While it feels weird not to be connected, sometimes we need to disconnect in order to slow down, breathe and refocus.
  • Get Ahead: Preparing for vacation is like a squirrel getting ready for the winter.  To get ahead means creating margin so that you aren’t worrying about that PROJECT or MEETING.  Getting ahead means creating a work pace that allows you to slow down instead of stopping cold turkey.  It also means putting a plan together for when you walk back into the office.  To get ahead means scheduling out your time and prioritizing your tasks.  Delegate to your team and then walk away.
  • Set Boundaries: Not everyone is going to know you are on vacation and not everyone will respect that.  To protect your vacation you need to set expectations.  That means giving a list of reasons when you can be contacted.  It also means dictating how to be contacted.  For example I tell people if they really need to touch base with me to text, “Call me now.” If I see anything else, I tend to ignore it.  Provide limits and you’ll communicate how your rest is important to you.

Protect your vacation and your protect your:

  • Family
  • Health
  • Margin
  • Time
  • Soul

Don’t waste it by taking it for granted.  Plan it out, communicate that you are unavailable and rest away.

What’s your favorite vacation spot?  What do you do to rest and relax?

I used to head into the summer with the idea that I could plan out an entire year of messages in a couple of months.  I would hit June highly motivated, July a little tired and August in a panic.  I was trying to do too much and not really understanding how to plan out a year of messages.

You need a strategy to how you plan out a year of messages or any curriculum.  With no strategy comes a lot of mistakes and frustrations.  The tendency might just be to go with the flow or do as much as possible; however, you need to do something that will be long lasting and sustainable.  To plan out your messages properly you need to answer the following three questions: Continue Reading…