You had a discouraging meeting… a bad day… a frustrating week… a dry season. You find yourself taking deeper sighs than usual and you know things are less than okay. While you used to be excited for the next thing in youth ministry, today you find ourself dreading even walking in the building.
It might be time for you to polish your resume or maybe it’s just time to change your thinking. There’s still hope, so let’s rekindle the love you once had. Here are 6 ways to fall back in love with youth ministry.
Remember Your Calling.
It’s easy and natural to focus on the negative, but it’s hard to quit something you know God has called you to do. Take a step back and reflect on your life story. See how God has worked to get you to this point so far and lean into His faithfulness. “You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name” (John 15:16, NLT).
Use Your Vacation And Days Off.
Maybe the reason you’re feeling so tired is that you ARE tired. Open up your calendar and mark off some days to find rest. Find a day in the near future to have a sabbatical day of rest and reflection. If your circumstances make this impossible, remember you control your calendar. Stop scheduling early morning and late-night meetings. Don’t work through lunch. Ask if you can spend a few hours a week working at the local coffee shop. The world will keep spinning if you skip a week of breakfast meetings or late-night Bible studies. Even Jesus stepped away from the crowd from time to time.
Adjust Your Expectations.
Jesus explains, “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world” (John 16:33, NLT). Youth ministry can be full of high highs and low lows. When you are in the valley, resist becoming overly critical or bitter by humbly counting your blessings and considering trials pure joy. Step back for a minute and check yourself.
Shake It Up
My mentor and friend Jim Wideman says, “A rut is just a grave with the ends kicked out.” Maybe you aren’t feeling it anymore because it’s become too predictable and stale. Rearrange or organize your office. Bring in a guest speaker. Start a new book. Hang out with people in (or outside) the trenches. Sharpen your ax and study to show yourself approved. Find a healthy way to vent or start a new hobby. Work on the ministry you want and not just in the ministry you have.
Celebrate And Remember
Just like it’s difficult to hear from God with a dusty Bible, it’s hard to fall out of love with the youth ministry you are celebrating. Stop working on the next big thing, and celebrate what God is doing at this moment. Take a trip down memory lane next year by placing personal milestones on your calendar and set yearly reoccurring celebrations such as baptisms and movements of God. Remember your priorities and publicly celebrate when your small group leaders are working towards making disciples. Dream of what youth ministry could be and begin praying over the vision God brings.
Don’t Go At It Alone.
We were created for community. The writer of Romans tells us, “Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other” (Romans 12:4-5 NLT). If you are losing your love for ministry, it might be because you are failing to equip the church to do the work of ministry and instead relying on your gifting alone. Check-in with your leaders and meet up with your students to see what they can be doing to build and support the church. Get feedback and stop trying to read minds. Meet with your supervisor and let them know both your needs and your struggles.
Don’t allow today to just be another long day in your youth ministry journey. Do something today to light a small spark to ignite a fire in your heart for the ministry God has entrusted you with.