To steal a line from the GEICO commercials, “When you are a youth worker, you go to youth group…it’s what you do.”
Volunteer, part-time, or full-time youth worker? No matter the role you play in your youth ministry, strategically…purposely…ditching youth group from time to time is good for you and for your youth group! Not to mention, it helps you to STAY HEALTHY personally.
Volunteer youth workers are some of the most committed, and oftentimes over-committed people on the planet! Simply put, skipping youth group once in awhile adds a little margin, cushion, and sanity to your life.
It reminds the church leadership that they don’t own your time! Many well-meaning churches (mine being one of them) will, over time, begin to assume our key volunteers will always be at on call. Ditching youth group once in awhile reminds the paid professionals that you have a life outside the church.
It forces church leaders to have a mindset of continual volunteer recruitment. The reality is this: If you are willing to skip youth group once in awhile, you may be willing to step away from it entirely. Church leaders are notorious for working hard to fill an existing gap, but most don’t think much about the next generation of volunteers until we have to. By ditching once in a while, you keep me on my toes…you help remind me that I should always be looking for more volunteers!
Because you get paid to lead the youth ministry, the bulk of the weight of responsibility for the ministry falls on your shoulders, as well it should. BUT that doesn’t mean you are indispensible! In fact, youth groups led by “indispensible” youth workers are usually in the most trouble when that leader resigns. If you are a paid youth worker, part of your job is to ensure the youth group can function in your absence. And ditching youth group from time to time is a great way to help meet that goal!
Your absence allows other leaders to step up. When you are gone, somebody else has to deal with an angry parent, somebody else has to decide how to deal with a rowdy student and somebody else has to figure out if it’s okay to let the new Miley Cyrus song play in the background. Your absence leaves a leadership void and forces others to fill it!
If you are reading this and thinking to yourself, “I can’t miss youth group; things will fall apart!” you need to do two things right away:
1) Ditch youth group! Things may, in fact, fall partially apart. But youth group will happen, students will show up and have fun, other leaders will step up.
2) Begin to regularly equip and empower your leaders so your presence is less and less vital! Train them now for your future absence. Give more and more of the ministry away and hold onto less and less of it yourself.
What to do now? Grab your calendar and circle an upcoming youth group night…that’s the one you are going to ditch.
Check out Me First! about keeping how taking care of your health makes a difference to God, others, and your ministry!