Guest post by Becky Gilbert

Every Friday thousands of nine to five workers watch the clock on Friday afternoon waiting… waiting… waiting….FINALLY, the weekend! 5:00p.m. is the signal for many that it is time to go home and relax, unwind, blow off some steam, party. The nine to five work week and weekend off is the rhythm of life for many people.

About 2 weeks ago, it struck me how different the rhythm of my life as a youth Pastor is from most people in my community. On Friday, I am gearing up for a weekend of ministry. Friday night youth group, sometimes Saturday activities and then worship on Sunday. While sitting on one of the couches in our youth room, the church bells began to ring. The bells ring everyday on the hour so I usually do not pay that much attention to them. This time, I was listening, the bells tolled five times. After the fifth time, I realized that just about every Friday I am sitting on that same couch in the youth hall listening to the church bells ring at 5o’clock pm. Like many of you, I have a ‘before event’ ritual. (is that weird? picture us taking out our ‘lucky Bibles’ and wearing the same socks we wore last time youth group was really good haha!) That time is spent, as much as possible before others arrive, praying for youth group that night, going over last minute details making sure that nothing has been forgotten.

5’oclock on Friday has become one of the most important times of my week. Although prayer is a regular part of my day, asking the Spirit to be present during our youth group time and asking for specific guidance, again, for the message and for each interaction that takes place during the evening lays the foundation for growth to take place. 5 o’clock is also when I pray, again, for each of the adult leaders and students leaders and the specific ministry they are going to carry out that evening. The reason this 5’oclock quiet means so much is that it helps remind me that no matter how much or how little planning has been done the only thing that matters is that students experience the love of Christ during the time we spend together. At 5 o’clock , even if I am freaking out about a part of the evening, that bell tolling reminds me to stop and give everything over to God.

Although you have probably heard this saying in a totally different context… it’s 5 o’clock somewhere. What is your 5 o’clock ritual? How are you preparing for your next youth group or youth event? Whatever it is, take a minute to stop and give it over to God.