Think about your Wednesday night or weekend service for a second. Think about all the prep. Think about all the emails. Think about all of the set up. Think about all the running around you tend to do on those nights because you want to make sure everything runs smoothly and transitions well. I bet if you checked your steps on your watch you could be a professional power walker in the olympics.

One conversation I felt like I was having a ton at our summer camp a few weeks ago is one I feel like we should be working toward having all of the time. Our youth and kids lead staff did not lead cabins. They didn’t run games. They didn’t have a check list to do while at camp. They were just there.

Not without purpose, let me assure you. They just didn’t have any list of doing. Their whole job was “to be.”

To be available.

For some, that is really hard. For many of us (cough cough… me), we don’t feel like we are being useful unless we are “doing.” Give me task. I’ll complete it. Give me a list. I’ll check that bad boy off. Tell me “to be” or to be available then I freeze.

One of the best things we can do as youth workers is to get set up to a point when on a Wednesday night or weekend we can just be available. To get to a point when we have done our jobs so well that we have built teams around us and entrusted awesome volunteers to help run the night so that you as the leader can just “be” so if anything that arises, you can be available to lead and pastor the situation. How can you put out a fire if you are running around trying to set up something or organizing the food or inputting the stuff on the computer for the game pre-service? Does it mean you are doing “nothing”? Maybe some will assume that, but in reality you have become the most effective because you put in time, energy, and effort into building up great leaders to do ministry with.

I know for some of my crew, it was not until the midway point of summer camp where they realized how powerful it was to just be available because that is how we set them up. They were able to jump in and care for students by having conversations. They were able to check in with and tag out leaders to give them a break if they needed. It allowed them to connect on a relational level that they normally would not get to on a Wednesday night because they would typically be trying to get program up and running. This allowed them to connect way more often and way more intentionally. It was powerful.

To-do lists are not all bad, but they are bad when we feel like we are the only ones who can do them and when they take us away from being able to lead and pastor effectively. What better way to allow others to use their gifts than by giving them parts of the night so you can be most effective and lead by being available.

Is that easy to do? Not always. We either tend to keep everything ourselves and run ragged, get tired, and burnt out. Is it always worth it? Yes, because we allow our leaders to own parts of the night, and on the nights on which the ministry needs you to be most available, you can be because you worked to set it up that way.

So let me ask you, how well are you at “being” during your service day?