You wake up hung over. The problem is that you didn’t go out clubbing or drinking, it was just a regular night of ministry. That’s because ministry will take a toll on you. If not done right it will rob you of rest.
And you need rest. It’s just as important as your prayer life because it will:
You’ve reached your limit. You can no longer endure. As you drive home after another long night you wonder, “Can I keep doing this? The temptation is to say, “No.” But, is it the right answer?
This past week my pastor and I headed to the NCCYM in San Antonio to speak. We were there to share the Rebuilt story and promote my upcoming book Rebuilding Youth Ministry.
During our time there youth ministers shared with us the challenges they faced. It was a little heart breaking because behind each story was the question:
If you are a leader you will feel lonely. That’s because the decisions, responsibilities and the burden fall on you first. The question you need to answer is, “How am I going to deal with the loneliness?”
No one tells you when you get into ministry that there will be periods where it feels like:
Burnout seems to sneak up on you. It starts as irritation or exhaustion and then next thing you know you are hiding under the covers wondering, “Is there any hope of me finding happiness?” The reason most youth ministers find themselves in burnout is because they ignored the warning signs.
The other night I went out for a run. I reached the end the block and then immediately turned around. There was a flash of lightning followed immediately by a thunderous boom. I took this warning sign serious and headed back towards my house.
It’s not always clear exactly what gets us to the point of burnout. And that’s because there is no one point but a series of events. To avoid burnout all together you need to:
At the end of a long day I just need to unwind. My job is filled with many rewards; however, there can be times I just want to mail it in. One of the ways I release the tension is through music (Especially with songs like Hold On by The Gospel Whiskey Runners). It’s one of the small things I do to help me last in youth ministry.
Youth ministry is like a marathon. It’s a journey filled with challenges and moments when you ask, “Why am I still doing this?” It can be brutal because of the emotional and spiritual battles that take place. While youth ministry is grueling it’s still rewarding.
To stick around and witness those rewards you need to know how to last in youth ministry. That means doing a few small things and not neglecting the essentials. To last in youth ministry you need to: