When was the last time you had a fun day? A day you totally enjoyed and without a cell phone, blackberry or Franklin Planner (for those of you over fifty), a meeting or prep for that next message. These days are few and far between when you are in ministry. If I were totally honest with you I would share that in 16+ years I think I could count on two hands how many of those days I had. Over the years I have listened to many youth leaders share why they just don't have the time, here is just a sampling.
- I am just to busy. Not a big surprise here, I lived off this one. However, I do know that many youth leaders don't know how to budget their time, making us unproductive in many ways. We spend too much time on the projects that we like and not enough time working on the areas we struggle with. Youth leaders also are not know for our ability to ask for help, either because we don't like to share the leadership or because we don't know "how" people can help even if they offer.
- I feel guilty about being out of the office for an entire day. WHY? Who do we work for? Yes, we answer to a pastor (if your lucky), a church board or a controlling group of parents who don't appreciate anything you do anyway. Plan your week and let others know your schedule, email it to your boss and whoever answers the phones. This helps with personal accountability and it allows those answering calls to inform people of when you are available. If you don't get out of the office at least one (should be two days) day a week, you will find yourself discouraged, frustrated and always looking for a better position and church. Remember, if the problem follows you it's not the place, it's you!
- Youth Ministry is my fun. I almost vomit every time I hear this one, only because I used to say it. If where you are paid to work and do ministry is your only fun, I hope you are single with no kids, family or friends. If this describes you, please get out of ministry. We are called to gather with the body of believers and encourage one another, what kind of example would you be setting if you only spent time with teenagers? If you do have a family, PLEASE spend time with them before they get to old and recognize that their “parent pastor” is there for everyone except their family. Get a hobby, join a league, start exercising, do something that involves you getting away and enjoying life to it's full. Take little steps at first, soon you’ll be a pro at getting out of the office (and you might even enjoy it).
If most pastors and youth leaders are honest, we feel lonely. Not in a physical way, but in an emotional way. We carry information, hurts, and pain for so many with nobody to share it with because we have a trust that should not be broke with people who we care for and minister to. At times, many ministry leaders are on the outside looking in. We look in at the relationships that have been there before us and will be there long after we move on and many people don't want to get to close for the fear of losing a friend when the "next church" calls.My prayer is that you find someone to share with, find a hobby to have fun with and make some relationship to invest in. SPEND TIME WITH YOUR FAMILY! These are small steps that will allow you to have days of fun and really begin to enjoy life.