|Courtesy of Chris Yarzab/Creative Commons|
The relationships we have in ministry will inspire, challenge, shape and even hurt us. Some of those relationships we think will last forever while others will just be a moment in time. If there is one relationship that is the most important it’s the one you have with your Creator. Might seem obvious; however, it’s probably the one you forget about the most. If you were constantly focused on God and the vision that He has casted for you life, then the issues you face at home, with your pastor, the parents, teens and volunteers of your ministry would seem simple. Chances are you think you are spending time with God, when in reality you are not. As a youth minister you work in a church, your coworkers are Christians, and you probably have at least 3 translations of the Bible within reach; yet, you still feel burned out, stretched and even empty.
If you want your ministry to succeed you need to make the relationship you have with God a priority by:
- Giving Him A Day: Unfortunately most of us only go to God when we are emotionally drained. It’s a reactive relationship, which means we are at our lowest. Granted some of it sneaks up on us; however, if you are making time to spend with God then those situations will be far and few between. While it’s important to start and end your day with quiet time, it’s also essential to take a day off and just completely devote it to God. I’m not talking about vacation or a day to catch up on chores, what you need to do is give yourself a day when you are solely connecting with God. Maybe it’s sitting in adoration, going for a nature walk or just finding a quiet place to read scripture and journal. Make it a place where you are disconnected from the world and free of temptation and allow God to not only fill you; but, overflow you with His grace.
- Outside Accountability: Constantly you are telling teens to find accountability and allow other people to pour into them spiritually. It’s time to take your own advice and find men and women who are going to spiritually pour into you. That can be done through a small group or a spiritual director, just make sure it’s someone who is removed from your day to day activity that will pray with you and challenge you to go deeper.
- Separate Resources: I have a Bible for work, and one for home. What I study at work, I make sure is separate from what I’m reading at home. I have a journal for work, and a journal for home. I have prayer time with coworkers and prayer time with family…I think you get the point. Granted the spiritual habits we develop for work are going to be similar to the ones at home; however, they will not be the same. When you can develop those habits on your own time you make your relationship with God personal instead of professional.
There are going to be times when both worlds combine and the tension between what is work and what is personal faith will be blurry. In these instances it’s important to take a step back and reevaluate the situation. Rely on others to point you in the right direction and sit in the tension so that God can move you forward. When our relationship with God is strong, so will the others that surround us because He is your most important relationship.
What other actions do you take to strengthen your relationship with God?