THE FOLLOWING IS PART TWO OF A 3 POST SERIES ON TRANSITIONS IN STUDENT MINISTRY. TRANSITIONING IN TO STUDENT MINISTRY, THE LAND BETWEEN, AND THEN FINALLY TRANSITIONING OUT OF STUDENT MINISTRY.
The Land Between
- Maintain an awareness with reality
- So, here you are, you’ve been in student ministry a few years, the once burning flame has now been reduced to a sporadic flare up for your favorite annual event or your annual youth week. What do you do now?
- If you can ever get to the place where you don’t rely on your emotions to dictate your calling, then you’ll find yourself to be much more stable and consistent in your personal ministry.
- Know that there will be emotional highs and lows, but try to remain as even keel as possible…celebrate the victories, and sometimes you have to just forget about the losses!
- Fight to remain passionate
- In all of ebbs and flows of student ministry, there will be an ongoing fight to remain passionate! You’re not always going to walk in on a Wednesday night with a burning word from the Lord! Sometimes, you’re simply not gonna feel it…but even when you’re not “feeling it” you’re still going to have students that need you, that depend on you, that rely on you to get them through another day, another week!
- Understand that there will be seasons
- In this land between, there has been, and will always be seasons. You might feel like winter lasts about 11 months out of the year, but you’ll get a break! It won’t last forever!
- If you can remain aware of your group’s reality, you will see that some students are going through seasons! Don’t allow yourself to be deceived and write off a student because they don’t appear to be responding to anything that you’re saying!
- Don’t confuse them with being dead, when they’re just dormant! There might not appear to be any spiritual life in their bodies, but I’ve been around long enough to all of a sudden watch a student, who seemed lifeless, to all of a sudden, start coming around a little more, start the climb to being a leader once again, here a little breakthrough, there a little breakthrough…and slowly but surely, the clouds begin to fade away and the sun begins to shine again! Don’t underestimate the power of the season!
- Don’t rule out an occasional sabbatical
- I don’t think it’s healthy for you to teach 52 Sunday mornings or Wednesday nights a year. Yep…I said it, occasionally, you need a little break…and they need a little break!
- You’re not doing yourself or your family any favors by boldly proclaiming and announcing to the world that you NEVER take a vacation! That you work 80 hours a week…my friend, I hate to break it to you, but that is NOT a sustainable pace. Get help. Don’t do ministry as a Lone Ranger…get yourself a Tonto! Don’t try to do it all by yourself…and don’t think that you’re invincible and that you never need a break! (Check out this interesting book that I’m reading right now that discusses this exact same concept of rest! 24/6: A Prescription For A Healthier, Happier Life
- What are we teaching them?
- I look at how I struggled from week to week in my early days of youth ministry…sometimes having to get up early on a Sunday to put together a message, always scrambling, no major direction or planning…
- Let me ask you this…what are you feeding your students? What are they digesting on a weekly basis? What is the spiritual diet that you are feeding them?
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