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.