Most of you have bought a lie.
You’ve been sold beachfront property in Idaho and now wonder why you’re frustrated. Many of you reading this article are in your 20’s and have listened to and bought into an approach to life and ministry presented by men and women who aren’t like you—people in their 40’s and 50’s at “mega” churches with lots of other people on their team. But you probably aren’t like that.
You’re probably much younger, and almost certainly the only paid youth worker at your church (if you are getting paid at all, that is). But you listen to guys like me at conferences or in books we write (remember, we have other paid people on our team so we have time to write books…), stressing the importance of “balance” and “margin” in the lives of youth workers. A lifestyle that is within reach for only a select few. OUCH! YIKES! DANG! What am I getting at, here? Here’s what I’m getting at here:
Balance is a myth. It doesn’t exist in the world of youth ministry. And deep down, you know that to be true, which is why the pursuit of it has caused you so much turmoil.
Ministry is a messy, never-ending, “Put your hand to the plow and don’t look back,” type of endeavor and by its very nature doesn’t allow for balance, at least not as we have come to define it. So I propose something new. I propose the pursuit of health instead of balance.
Balance says there is a time and place for everything. Health says everything eventually gets time and place.
Balance says things need to fit nicely into the appropriate boxes. Health says things don’t usually fit in boxes so there must be another appropriate way.
Balance almost always leads with “no.” Health almost always leads with “let’s think about it.”
Balance tries to turn some things off while turning other things on. Health understands that most things never completely turn off and can find contentment regardless.
It’s possible that I am the most out-of-balance youth worker on the planet, despite my past efforts to put family, ministry, friendships and my personal pursuits in tidy little boxes that never infringe upon each other. And most of my frustration has been the result of having purchased my own beachfront property in Idaho.
But I’m healthy (mostly) and my family, ministry, friendships and personal pursuits would support that claim. And embracing an unbalanced, healthy approach to life and ministry has been the best decision I’ve ever made
Tired of chasing balance while serving in youth ministry? Maybe it’s because you are chasing something that doesn’t exist.
Thanks for loving students,