Even though summer is not over until late September, for youth workers it’s over once school starts. Hopefully you have had some time to get ready for this coming school year, completed all your summer activities, and somewhere in there found time for vacation. Summer is usually jammed with events, missions trips, camps, and fighting off the occasional TP attack. Now that it’s over are you ready for this new ministry season? Here are some basic principles that I practice to help me transition into the school season.
Basic #1: Break away for ministry vision.
You don’t have to go for two weeks or a monastery to hear God’s voice. It can be a simple time away from your ordinary setting. It’s important to change our environment in order to see the 30,000’ view of our ministries. It doesn’t have to cost much. Maybe there is somebody in your church who has a cabin you could use for a few days. Or maybe there is a camp center that would put you up as a promo for their facility. Find a place to break away.
Remember your core values, purposes, and ministry statements. Ask yourself some questions like, where are we going as a ministry? Are we spending time on the important things? Is our ministry balanced? Who am I investing in? These questions and others can help guide your time.
Also, when you break away for a day or two, take a team with you. There’s nothing like dreaming and reconnecting with vision with a group of key leaders. The investment in a team can add strength to your ministry and a foundation for difficult times.
Basic # 2: Remember why you signed up.
I’ve been through many youth ministry seasons. Sometimes it’s easy to forget the reason why I’m in it. Maybe, like me, you have a story about when you sensed God tugging you towards youth ministry. Remember that story, think about it, and write about it. For me it was when I was a junior in high school. My youth group was getting ready to go to a summer camp and my youth pastor got extremely sick. I still remember the phone call that I received when he said that I was going to lead our group that week. I was freaked out and excited all at once (and I think I peed my pants a little). I can remember the place and the time that week at camp when I felt God tugging my heart towards youth ministry. Reflecting on this can be a catalyst for another ministry season. Remember your calling!
Basic #3: Hang out with students you enjoy.
I know that you aren’t supposed to have favorites in youth ministry, but come on…we all do. I think that it’s important and strategic when you’re gearing up for another ministry season to spend some quality time with those students whom you enjoy and have invested in. Planning two or three connections with these students will stoke your passion for your ministry. If you hang with these students you will not regret it!
There are three ways to get back to the basics as this school year approaches. Doing these basic principles can firm up your foundation and propel you forward this school year.
Please email me with comments or other ideas on what you do to get back to the basics of youth ministry. I pray that this ministry season is your most fruitful yet.