I was hanging out with of mine about youth ministry and were talking about the things in which we need to remember within leadership to keep going in youth ministry. Ministry can be exhausting (anyone want to give a testimony on that?) but it is so, so worth it when we see students finally grasp the Gospel for the first time. I heard someone say once, “I took up DIY projects and love them because there is a start and finish to them. We work towards something that we wont see the true end. In ministry our work is never finished and we will never see the end work on this side of heaven.” So how do you keep going? What are the things you need to have in the back of your head?
I’m sure there are a TON more but the five my friend and I wrote down are, what I think, some big ones to keep in mind.
Seek God – Seems standard right? You’d be surprised about how many people drift into doing whatever they are doing out of their own power and not seeking God in the process. We can all put on services and have a gathering of people and not seek God in the process. This is where burn out happens, because we rely on our own strength to keep going. Seeking God in everything aspect in your ministry is crucial to sustaining. Don’t let your ego get in the way.
1 Chronicles 16:11 – Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually!
Have Grace – We work with broken people. We minister to broken people. Hurt people hurt people. It can happen where we get so frustrated with the people on our staff, on our volunteer team and our students and one of the best ways to minister to people is allowing them to watch how you react to certain situations. We need to show grace because God has shown us grace. So let’s minister with grace and watch what God does through it. If you don’t, you are going to be upset… a lot.
Ephesians 2:8-9 – For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
Have Fun – Stop taking yourself so serious. Some of us need to tell our faces we are having fun. I won’t write too much on this because my friend Neely McQueen wrote a great post on having fun. Click HERE to read it.
Proverbs 17:22 – A cheerful heart does good like medicine, but a broken spirit makes one sick.
Keep Learning – Lots of people feel like they get “stuck” in ministry. I think when we are continually learning and challenging ourselves it allows us to think outside what we are currently doing and asking the question of “Is this what I should be doing?” Keep learning about God, keep learning how to be a better leader, keep seeking ideas from other youth pastors and learning what is working in other areas. It’s a dangerous place to be when you feel you “got it and sticking to it” because in an instant… it’s gone. Our ministries will only as far we the leaders are so if we keep learning, growing and expanding our ministries will follow.
Proverbs 18:15 – An intelligent heart acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.
Keep Going – Ministry can be discouraging at times. Ministry can be a place where we sometimes wonder, “Am I even effective?” I believe this is the enemy seeping into your mind and feeding you lies. If you are called, you’re equipped. Keep going and be faithful because we serve a faithful God.
Psalms 119:90 – Your faithfulness endures to all generations; you have established the earth, and it stands fast.