|Courtesy of Krystal International Vacation Club/
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I’ll never forget the first weekend I was away from the youth ministry. You would have thought I was preparing for the end of the world. I was a chicken with it’s head cut off prepping volunteers, notifying emergency contacts and making backups for the backup materials. Needless to say, the weekend went off without a hitch. Afterwards, I thought to myself, I can do this, I can be away and this ministry can still go.
But, then there was the time I went away for my honeymoon, that meant three weekends in a row. At the time I was more experienced (3 years in); however, I still took the same precautions as before. When I returned I asked one of my coworkers how it went and he replied, “It’s good to have you back.”
The idea of taking a break, going on vacation or just being away from our ministries can be stressful and filled with high anxiety. Because if something happens, like:
- A kid is hurting.
- A parent needs clarity to a question.
- The keynote for the message doesn’t work.
- The building is held hostage by aliens.
It falls on us. For those reasons (maybe not the alien thing) we never take a break and we feel enslaved to our jobs, which is not healthy. When that happens you’ve made it all about YOU and not about GOD. And when that happens you’ve lost focus of your calling. We need to remember:
A few weeks ago I heard Francis Chan give a compelling message that put my ego in check. He said your ministry doesn’t have to have you there for a teenager to come to Christ, because it’s only with God that that stuff happens. Once we begin to realize that we are God’s tool, and not the end all be all of ministry, the tension will melt away.
What you and I need to do is lead a ministry that doesn’t have to have us but wants to have us. It’s healthy to know that you don’t have to be present at your ministry for it to succeed; therefore, the best way to prepare for that is through:
- Replacing Yourself – If you replace yourself, you can leave; however, even if you don’t want to leave it’s good to delegate the responsibilities. You can’t do everything on your own, because again it isn’t about you. Delegate responsibilities to your volunteers and you will not only share the burden but give yourself the ability to increase your leadership capacity.
- Sharing Vision – When vision is shared a direction is given. When people know and like where they are going they are willing to invest in it long term. When people get the vision they’ll know where to take the ministry, even if you do not. (How to share your vision, click here)
- Letting It Fail – When you leave your ministry it might succeed, but you have to risk failure to allow that to happen. Letting it fail means letting your team take risks of running the ministry without you. Not only will this allow you to see holes that need filling; but, it will give them the confidence to know they can succeed without you. (How to make this happen, click here)
- Allowing God To Lead – The only way to turn a me-centered ministry into a God centered one is by working on your personal relationship with Christ. This means focusing on your prayer life, diving into scripture and really listening to where He is leading you.
Accomplishing these tasks isn’t just for when you leave; but, for when you need to take a break. Again, God doesn’t NEED you to run a successful ministry, He just WANTS you. When we can embrace this mentality we can see how God is blessing our ministry, and what our role is no matter how long the term.
Share your thoughts. Where would you like to go on vacation and what’s holding you back from leaving your ministry behind?