Speaking to a room of middle school students can often feel like speaking into a wind tunnel filled with cats and dogs. It’s distracting and can sometimes leave you wondering, “Are they ever going to listen?”
Youth ministry is filled with interruptions and no matter what you do some of them are unavoidable. To get through the craziness that ministry sometimes brings you need to:
PREPARE LIKE CRAZY
While you cannot prepare for every situation you can get yourself ready to roll with most. Preparation builds confidence and gives you the endurance to take on the challenges that can come when:
- A teen interrupts your message.
- Someone gets sick on a trip.
- Surprise meetings invade your schedule.
To be prepared make sure you:
- Practice your messages and have an outline.
- Have a protocol for teens that need special attention.
- Put together a schedule that allows you to get back on track.
Your preparations will allow you to refocus and get back on track. It will give you the reassurance that you’ll be okay no matter the situation.
BUILD A TEAM AND EQUIP THEM TO TAKE OVER WHEN NECESSARY
Sometimes the distractions will pile up or happen when you are unavailable. One of the best ways to tackle these interruptions is by having a team that can handle them for you.
Invest in leaders that not only know the protocol for certain situations but have the ability to troubleshoot on their own. Equip them with the tools and guidelines they need to know and trust that they’ll get the job done.
GUARD YOUR HEART AND RECOGNIZE THE TEMPTATION TO SLIP
Your distractions can be teenagers just being teenagers or it can be a spiritual attack. Either way, you need to embrace God’s patience, grace, and love. To do that you need to make your prayer life a priority.
To avoid making a mess worse you need to make your prayer life a priority. Surround yourself with a team of people who can pray with and for you. Make sure you are growing as a disciple so that you can grow disciples in all environments.
CONSTANTLY REVIEW YOUR MARGIN
While you cannot avoid all distractions you can guard against most of them. If you find that the distractions and interruptions are piling up it means that something in your life is not in order.
Reviewing your schedule, limitations, and priorities will help you get back on track. It might seem like another thing to do but it’s absolutely necessary if you need to refocus. Make sure you have time set aside each week to know what’s most important.
No matter the situation remember distractions and interruptions will happen. Life is messy, it’s normal and if you find yourself growing tired know you aren’t alone. Keep up the persistence and remember God has you right where He needs you.
How are you fighting through the constant distractions in ministry?