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.
Some of my favorite times spent with students are the unexpected, unplanned, unforgettable moments that come with the simplest of things. They're moments that happen when we pause and we do what we love doing the most, spending time with our students.
Tip: Pause for the Unexpected, Unplanned, and Unforgettable.
A couple of years ago, while at Sunday school, I took a few minutes to sit and simply talk with two students who, I don't always get a chance to talk with. Often in the rush of Sunday mornings; worship, teaching, greeting, sound booth management, (and all the other things we sometimes find ourselves doing every Sunday morning) I don't get time to talk with everyone.
Too often we fall into the trap of ministry. It's easy to focus on the students who respond well with your personality, or are outgoing, or share your interests. But we all have the students who sit off to the side, keep to themselves, and watch all that's going on around them. If we are not careful, we can miss those students.
But these are the students who provide the unexpected, unplanned, and unforgettable moments. These are the students who remind us of why we got into the youth ministry in the first place. These are the students that at the end of the day, as we reflect on all that we did, we find a reason to smile.
On this occasion, it was the unexpected and unplanned conversation that led to an unforgettable moment. It was a sweet time of ministry, and all it took was slowing down and taking time to sit and talk.
Next time you find yourself in the middle of your youth function, hit pause. Take a few seconds to scan the room and look for those students who we sometime miss.. Then step aside and go talk with these students. It might just make your day.
Tip: Read a book that challenges you to grow.
As a student, I hated reading. In fact, I don't think I ever read any of the books I was supposed to. But now, I really enjoy a good book. In fact, I would say I read quite a bit; far more than I used to read.
As a youth worker, we should be constantly striving to grow. To assume that we no longer need to be growing is to shorten our life in ministry. And part of us growing is in finding books that stretch and challenge us. We need to be actively reading and learning how to be the pastors that God calls us to be.
Taking time to read books that challenge us to think outside our boxes is crucial to our own growth and development. This might be a book by an author that you don't see eye to eye with. Maybe it's a topic that, theologically, you disagree with. Perhaps it's a text book such as; a book on church history, or systematic theology, or religions and ethics. Look for books that you know will be hard reads. These are the books that will make you think, question and work through the content. Learning how to wrestle a bit in what you're learning will stretch you and you will learn.
Don't be content with what you know, or even what you think you know. Don't read just the titles and the authors that you like and agree with. Be a learner. Stretch yourself. Challenge yourself. READ!
*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 8.27.2011.
Jay Higham is a veteran youth worker of over 28 years; having worked with students in the local church and Christian camping settings. Jay is currently serving as the student ministry director at a church, located in Western PA. Jay has been married to Amy for over 23 years. Together, they are raising 5 kids, (4 boys and 1 girl). Jay is an aspiring author, blogger, speaker, vlogger, and social media junkie. He is passionate about student ministry, family ministry, and training youth workers to love and serve their students with passion and excellence.