How can I serve you today?
You know you can use a little help with something. Maybe it’s a phone call someone wants you to return or some copies you’ll have to make before your next lesson. Some of those things require you, but I’m guessing not all of them do. It’s just a matter of delegation.
Now reverse that, and imagine how this is playing out in the lives of the other people around you. They can use a little help with something. Your senior pastor or another church leader could really use a fan of the next big thing they’re about to announce. A few parents of kids in your youth group need you to print off a form for them that you assume they’ll just download off the internet. The other adult leaders you serve with require one less meeting you’ll ask them to be at this month because they haven’t been investing into their family like they have the church.
So ask them – “How can I serve you today?”
Be prepared for raised eyebrows and tongue-tied responses. Even in the church we can nurture a culture of independence where we’re all trying to “earn our keep.” It’s humbling to admit you need help.
And yet you know that you need help, so why wouldn’t the people around you?
- At home, ask if there is a job you can take on short-term that you normally don’t do.
- Ask busy neighbors if your family can cook them a meal this week, because you’ve seen how crazy their schedules are.
- Tell your senior pastor you’d like to babysit his or her kids this weekend, passing along a gift card for a date night out to the movies.
- Approach someone in your church who serves in a different ministry and offer them two hours next week to help them with “whatever.”
- Send a quick text to the parents of the kids in your small group, asking what you can pray for them about or help them do?
Or…simply ask…“How can I serve you?”
Someone did this for me a few months ago, saying, “Whatever you need me to do this week, I’ll do it. Just tell me.” I had him proof-read a sensitive email and share a testimony before I taught. Both blessed me in ways I’m still reaping.
So…how have you been blessed like this or been a blessing?
Youth ministry schedules can be hard on marriages and families. Not only are there a million youth events and programs to attend, but many youth pastors and their families are also expected to be involved in the everyday life of the church. Youth workers can easily find themselves far too busy and with spouses and children desperate for time and attention.
As with anything else in life, there’s no magic fix or specific formula for working out a healthy youth ministry schedule. But here are some general ideas to keep in mind when dealing with your ministry calendar.
- First, keep your spouse in the loop and value their opinion. The quality of your marriage is important and keeping that relationship a priority as you schedule programs will make your spouse feel like they don’t always take second place to the needs of the youth group. When planning your calendar, include your spouse in the conversation. There will always be non-negotiables in church schedules, but many things can be flexible as well. It’s important to take time to listen to your significant other if they feel things are too crowded or if they’d prefer a different date for an event or program. When your spouse feels listened to and they see you accommodate their wishes when possible, it strengthens your relationship and prevents resentment from festering.
- Second, keep an open dialogue with your supervisor or senior pastor. Having the support of those in authority over you is key to balancing work and family. Consult them when conflicts arise and discuss when your presence at church is a necessity and when it’s okay to spend time at home. If you find that those above you have an unhealthy view of church commitments, then perhaps it might be time to look for a new position. Sacrificing family for the sake of ministry is never healthy.
- Third, listen to your body. This might not sound as spiritual as we’re all used to, but our bodies are innately wired to let us know when we’re doing too much. If you or your spouse observe that, you’re constantly tired, disconnected, grumpy, or overly emotional, it might be necessary to cancel something, take an extra day off, or plan a vacation for yourself and your family. Staying in touch with your body is crucial to keeping your personal, relational, and ministry health on track.
Yesterday we ran down 10 quick hits on increasing relational ministry in your youth group; today we’re back with 10 more and hoping you contribute another couple in the comments, too! Here we go:
11. Set up shop at a fast-food place right next to the school that has open lunch. Send a group text saying you’re buying tacos for the first 5 who show up.
12. Get a copy of the school paper; shoot an email to the principle with encouragement.
13. Buy every ad space possible—football programs, gym banners, etc. Banners don’t make a ministry more relational but they let people know you are available when the time arises.
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14. Show up at funerals for any teenager in the community. Your face is a symbol of the care of Christ. Even if you don’t talk to anyone, your presence makes a statement.
15. Organize a “drop by” coffee shop afternoon where students or leaders can drop in for a free drink on you and a chat.
16. Have your room set and program done 15 minutes before the service starts so you can greet everyone as they come in.
This week we’re going to simply knock out 20 ways you can increase the level of relational ministry in your youth group. Quick, random, hits that we hope inspire you to try something new, too!
1. Add a greeting time in youth group. Give them a couple minutes to help new people feel welcome.
2. Spend time with a student every day. It doesn’t have to be physical, face-to-face, time—send them a quick text, comment on their Facebook, like an Instagram picture, etc. Just make contact with one or two students every day.
3. Start an Instagram account for your ministry. Post pictures every week of people, not places.
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4. Give out your personal cell phone number instead of the church office line you completely ignore.
5. Walk slowly through church this week. You might be surprised at who stops to talk to you when you aren’t hurried.
6. Let someone else teach so you can work the room.