Julie’s a 10-year youth ministry vet. That means she’s sailed her ministry ship into the doldrums over and over.
The doldrums, as it turns out, is a real thing—it’s the name sailors have given to the Intertropical Convergence Zone, where the northeast and southeast trade winds converge into a stifling calm. If your sailing ship enters the doldrums, don’t expect to exit it for a long time.
In ministry terms, it’s the short season after the end of summer/start of school/See You At The Pole rally and before the holiday ramp-up. This year, Julie decided to maximize the relative calm to conquer some training goals. She signed up for Group’s half-day Youth Ministry Local Training experience (“Check Your Vitals”), then used her leftover vacation time to attend a small luncheon for youth leaders facilitated by Jeff Henderson, a North Point campus pastor who’s just authored a new book titled FOR.
Henderson is a former Chick-Fil-A executive who’s also led the Next Generation ministry at North Point. His book helps ministry leaders focus on what they are FOR, not against. To do that, he says, leaders must pay attention to…
1. What they See,
2. What they Celebrate,
3. What they Talk About, and
4. Who they Meet With
When she returned from the luncheon to her church, she started the “translation” process by writing these notes to herself on her office whiteboard:
“What am I seeing?”
What has Jesus been doing in our student ministry, especially in and through our summer events? I see many of our teenagers are experiencing a remarkable renewal in their relationship with Him, and I can help fuel that new momentum right now. Why haven’t I seen this more clearly? It’s clear I need more time and space for reflection and rest. And as Jeff said, when I know what I’m FOR I can help my ministry leaders know and live out their purpose in life and ministry more fully.
1. When is the last time you stopped and reflected on what Jesus has been doing in your ministry?
2. What are some things Jesus is doing that you’ve neglected to thank Him for?
3. How are you using the ministry doldrums to refresh your soul?
(This is Part 1 of a two-part series on the Fall Doldrums—look for Part 2 next week.)