Tip: Take a day just for you to reconnect with God.
I worked with a pastor who had the daily habit of walking through the woods, spending an hour or more with God. It's his way of connecting with God. Imagine, having time to connect with God on a regular basis. I have quiet time and personal devotions. I manage to have them almost every day. But even with a daily quiet time, I often wish I had the opportunity and time to be able to spend time with God.
This weeks tip is one that you can and should make part of your ministry career; take a day for you to reconnect with God! This isn't just your 30 minute morning study. This is an all-day retreat; just you and God!
Find a day in your schedule where you can make everything go away. No meetings, no appointments, no phone calls, no people. Set that day as your day with God. Think of a place where you will be left alone with little to no distractions. Give yourself 8 to 10 hours, if possible. Take only your bible, a notebook, and maybe your ipod with music that draws you into God's presence. Turn your phone off. Leave the iPad in the car. Spend the next couple of hours with God.
Read His word. Sit quietly and listen. Journal your thoughts. Write what you think God is speaking to you. Dream with God. And let God give you His dreams.
You can take a lunch or choose to fast. The point is, be alone with God. Reconnect with Him.
Let the important people know what you are doing and where you will be and that you want to be alone.
I've had three weekends of ministry. That's resulted in a lot of hours recently. So this past Monday, I decided to take some time away from the office. That also meant, time away from the blog. So instead of posting Monday, Youth Worker Tip of the Week, I'm making it Tuesday, Youth Worker Top of the Week!
Tip: Go to bed EARLY!
Somewhere along the way I have lost the thrill of staying up late. What was once fun in high school and seminary has now become a cruel form of torture. Staying up is no longer fun. I'm tired, cranky, irritable, and just plain nasty. If I don't have to stay up late, I'd rather not! In fact, after multiple weekend of ministry, with long hours, sleep really becomes essential.
During the school year, I look forward to the routines that we settle into as a family. But I also like that student ministry has routines. In the summer, routines and schedules are more relaxed. The relaxed mind set often lends to late nights.
Here's the thing, whether it's summer time or during the school year, there is great value in learning to go to bed early. Sure, there are seasons when late nights and busy weekends are part of the job. But when you can, taking advantage of sleep is a good thing.
There are some great benefits to an early bed time! Better sleep. An earlier start time for the next morning. More rest. More energy. A happier attitude. And a more productive day. So set a new habit. Don't stay up late if you don't have to. Go to bed early.
It's Monday morning. Perhaps like me, you might be walking into a disaster of an office. Boxes, sports equipment, stacks of files, spare clothing, a sleeping bag, and a pancake griddle, are just a few of the item taking up space. Why? Because I just survived a weekend of ministry. In fact, I'm in the middle of 3 big ministry weekends.
Two weekends ago we held our annual 30 Hour Famine! This past weekend our Friday night student outreach. This coming weekend, a student led worship of Friday and Youth Sunday on Sunday. During clean up, my office became the dumping-ground for all things famine/outreach/youth Sunday related. Add in three full weeks of teaching, assisting with worship, worship set up, and after school activities. That's a lot to cram into three weeks but, this is youth ministry.
Unfortunately, during busy seasons like this, the office space suffers the most. With each activity comes it's own pile of items that need to be cared for. Usually, these items find their way into our offices. But a messy office isn't always good. Sure, a little clutter isn't horrible, but if it effects your work, then something needs to happen. Sure, you could go to Starbucks for a couple of hours, but that only delays the inevitable. At some point, you will have to clean your office.
For me a clean office provides me with a small sense of professionalism. I feel good when my office is neat, especially when the church family stop by to say hi or talk. A clean office also helps with my creative processing. And I feel better about myself and the work I do knowing that my space is neat and tidy.
Now I'm not advocating for the deep clean, although you should do that a couple times a year, but you should try to straighten up and put things away." Taking the time to care for your work space is a great habit that will help you stay organized and more efficient.
What does your office look like? Do you find keeping a neat office helps you do your job a little better?
Or is your office simply the storage room for all things youth ministry related?
I'd love to hear what you think. Share your comments, thoughts, and idea!
*The following is a repost of a blog written by Jay Higham. This repost is part a big move that we are making from our old blog which is no longer in us, to the new blog here on our new host. This post has been updated and new affiliate links added. Original posted on 3.19.2012.
Tip: Establish a Quitting Time.
When do you leave the office?
When all the work is done, right?
There have been many a day when I found myself calling home to tell my wife I'd be late for dinner. Why? A student needed counseling? Nope. A school activity ran late and I was staying to the end? No. Because there was an emergency and I was responding to the need. Not.
The truth is, I was a borderline workaholic. And if it wasn't working late in the office, it was working late at home. Sometimes the extra hours came as the Spirit flooded my heart and head with inspiration. These times might lead you to putting in a few extra minutes. And if it only happens once in a while, it might be okay. However, the majority of my late nights were due to poor time management and procrastination and not knowing the importance of knowing when to end the day.
Consider these thoughts with me.
1. Set a firm quitting time.
- Set a time to serve as your quitting time. This should be a time that you, your spouse, and your senior pastor agree to. It should also be the same time for every day. Keep in mind school related functions and time scheduled to visit with a students. If you usually head to the school in the afternoon, include that as part of your "office/work" time.
2. Procrastinate Tomorrow.
- I am the master of procrastination. I love waiting till the last minute to work on a big project. Just kidding, I hate the stress and pressure that comes with delaying the inevitable. Procrastination haunts me. If I'm not careful, I can easily put off a weeks worth of work. Over the years, I have learned the importance of getting your work done and not putting it off. Each weeks comes with it's own deadlines. When your teaching every weekend, you have to be ready. Procrastination is something you have to deal with right away.
3. Manage Your Time before it Manages You.
- I've written about this before, but it's worth repeating. You have got to manage your time before it manages you. Each week I do my best to block out my office time. By doing this, I can prioritize what needs to get done. But I also leave time for the unexpected; a visitor to the office, some needs computer help, or unscheduled one-on-one time. Every week you can be sure, something unexpected will happen, so be sure to leave some flex time in your schedule.
4. Go Home and Stay Home!
- With the quitting time determined, the procrastination problem resolved, and an effort to manage your time, the only thing left to do is Go Home! Yes, Go Home! When the end of day comes, go home. And when you are at home, BE at home. That means you leave the computer in your computer bag, or even better, back at the office. If you are home, be home. Engage your wife and family.
Please sure your thoughts and comments. I'd love to know what you think!
*The following is a repost of a blog written by Jay Higham. This repost is part a big move that we are making from our old blog which is no longer in us, to the new blog here on our new host. This post has been updated and new affiliate links added. Original posted on 8.21.2012.