In Part 1 of this short series, we followed Julie, a 10-year youth ministry vet, as she spent some of her “fall doldrums” time reinvesting in training and strategic reflection.
With a fresh wind blowing in her ministry sails, Julie left her student-pastor luncheon with Jeff Henderson, author of FOR, already planning a celebration time with her team. Henderson’s “recipe” for effective leadership includes celebrating what God is already doing in your ministry. Julie’s leaders serve not because they get rewarded for it, but because it’s a calling. Nevertheless, Jesus Himself loved celebrations and often slowed down to enjoy time with His “co-laborers.”
[tweet_box design=”default” float=”none”] Jesus Himself loved celebrations and often slowed down to enjoy time with His “co-laborers.”[/tweet_box]
Julie used the celebration time to remind everyone of WHO they serve, and WHY. That brought a greater understanding of what they were doing ministry FOR, helping pull the whole team out of the Fall doldrums. None of this would’ve happened if she hadn’t prioritized a season of rest and reflection, leveraging the natural seasonal rhythms of her ministry life to carve out space for it. After a challenging time with Henderson, she adopted his “three steps of reflection” for herself:
- Step One: Rest and relax
- Step Two: Journal your thoughts and emotions
- Step Three: Have fun and enjoy nature
As a result of this “breathing space,” Julie realized her teenagers were wrestling with the same “fall doldrums” challenges. She decided to change up her teaching series to better mesh with their interior reality and give them practical help navigating their “dead time.” She was determined to convey a simple message to her kids: I am FOR you, no matter what. So she chose to focus on the story of Noah, and how he remained patient and committed while waiting on God. After week one of the series, many students approached her to confess how much the teaching had met them right where they were.
Now Julie has a new pattern and rhythm to her ministry—celebrate, rest, and relax in Jesus. It has rejuvenated her soul and given her ministry a new, more targeted focus. Because she slowed down long enough to reflect, she also experienced how much Jesus is FOR her, and that is propelling her through the doldrums.