I feel like I’m always on the lookout for the next resource.
The next one that will help me more effectively put together a student leader team or lead that team beyond just having them do menial tasks.
The next one that will help me connect better with middle schoolers during the teaching time (they are a squirrelly bunch).
The next one that will provide a framework for why we do what we do, so that I don’t have to reinvent the wheel but can use something someone else created that fits our context and vision that enables me to spend more time with our students.
This resource feature is going to be a bit different than I intended, but I want to put the focus on one of the most important, if not the most important, resource for your youth ministry (other than Jesus Christ).
That resource is YOU: Your daily, faithful pursuit of Jesus Christ that enables you to consistently show up at your best for youth group.
We all have too much to do. More than our schedule will allow. We might be able to get everything done if we didn’t sleep, didn’t have families, and didn’t need to maintain a healthy lifestyle to keep going in life and ministry.
There is one resource, in particular, that brought this to the forefront for me. Subversive Sabbath: The Surprising Power of Rest in a Nonstop World by A.J. Swoboda. I started a journey about a year ago of reading this book, and it led me to reading 24/6 by Dr. Matthew Sleeth, Crazy Busy by Kevin DeYoung, and I am currently working through A Minute of Margin by Dr. Richard A. Swenson.
These books have been integral to me developing a lifestyle that is sustainable and productive. It is counterintuitive, and, honestly, counter to what most of our lead pastors and bosses want us to do. But what I have found is the more intentional I am with my rest and health, the more productive I am inside and outside the office, the more I have to offer students, and the more I am growing and learning from the Lord in His Word.
Please, never downplay or disregard the power of Sabbath and rest in your weekly rhythm. Your students need consistency and faithfulness lived out in front of them.
There are seasons that are busier than others, but seasons have a beginning and an end. Make sure the busy season doesn’t turn into an overwhelming lifestyle that leads to burnout and/or removal from ministry because your guard was down due to exhaustion or overwork and you slow-faded your way into a lifestyle of sin.
Use some or your church budget, or your personal resources, and buy one of these books. Or, go to your local library and check one out. You will be glad you did. Your family, your students, and your boss will be glad you did, as well.