The reason why this is number one is because it is the one that fills me up the most. This is something that is not easily attained in our society and in my current phase of life, at least not for more than a few minutes in a row. There is always some interruption or pressing need that hinders any solitude. When I can get it, this time is usually filled with meditating on scripture, prayer, and journaling. I do a regular “quiet time” most days, which does include all three of these, but it is normally only a ten minute part of my morning routine and does not qualify as solitude. It does help me to “top off” my emotional and spiritual tank, but when I am on empty I need a few hours, not a few minutes.
I am not, and have never been a “reader”. Reading is not enjoyable for me, the phrase “pleasure reading” is an oxymoron in my book. However, I do love to learn. I quickly realized while in college, if I am going to learn I need to read. I like reading blogs because I can read and learn in quick and small doses, and if I want I can react or comment to the author instantly (which is sometimes a good or a bad thing). Since I don’t read books on a regular basis, when I do it is very refreshing.
I think this is somewhat of a guy thing, but I love to play. This is one of the reasons I love living in Idaho because the outdoor recreation is close and abundant. I am definitely one of the people that come home from an ideal vacation more physically exhausted than when I left. Staying in a hotel is not my idea of relaxing. I would rather sleep on our boat so I can literally step out of my sleeping bag and directly into my wakeboard.
This is something I have just started doing in the past few years. As God has continued to mold me and use me in different ways I felt like writing was something He wanted me to do. I can say the publishing side of writing is NOT refreshing or fulfilling for me, in fact it has proven so far to be quite frustrating. But the actual process of writing does indeed fill me up, whether anyone actually reads what I write or not.
5. Spend time in community
One of the most refreshing things I can do as a youth worker is hang out with other youth workers. Whether it is a local NNYM meeting, a national conference like SYMC or NYWC, or online through social media I love connecting with other youth workers.
One of the most refreshing things I can do for myself is to hang with my wife, my kids, my extended family, family friends, or even a good conversation with the random person that gets stuck next to me on an airplane. No agenda, nothing to accomplish or create, but just time together.
As I look over this list, I realize that every single one of them have to be done intentionally. If I don’t purposefully schedule it, set it as a goal, or focus on it none of these five things would ever happen. My daily life always has other things that are more pressing or more urgent, and if I let it happen these things will get pushed to the bottom of my priority list.
The other thing I notice is how they directly counteract the things on my empty list. It is almost like God knew what he was doing when he made me….huh, how about that! This week while I am away, I am purposefully pursuing all five of these things.
I challenge you to take a few moments in the next few days, and write out your empty list and full list. Obviously yours will probably be different than mine, but I am sure it will be just as valuable for you as it has been for me.
For my first post I pondered what to do. I have considered putting on a few old articles I had written for other things just to get some content up. I have considered posting some amusing ramblings about something random. I have also considered just giving up on this whole new venture into the world of youth ministry blogs. But alas, here is the first post—and it is none of the things I just described.
For this inaugural post, I think you need to understand better who I am and what I believe. I am a weird youth worker. “What makes you weird?” you ask. What I believe about youth ministry makes me weird…
I believe my own faith walk is more important than my ministry to teenagers.
I believe that my wife and kids need to know I love them more than I love the church.
I believe that huge numbers is not the goal of youth ministry or the measure of health.
I believe that I should have a good relationship with my senior pastor and other church staff; after all we are on the same team.
I believe that I should not do ministry alone. I need to team up with volunteers and other youth workers in my area to promote unity within my church and my community.
I believe that youth ministry is a long term commitment not a stepping stone to a real job within the church.
I believe that as a Christian I signed up to fight in a war along side God, and that youth ministry is the front lines of the battle not a way to get paid to play.
I believe that teenagers are an integral part of the church today; they are not the church of tomorrow.
I believe that the current paradigm we live up to in youth ministry is hurting us more than it is helping us, and that we need to admit it and challenge it head on through the Truth of scripture.
After reading what I believe you are probably reacting in one of two ways. Perhaps you are deciding you will never read my blog or anything else I write ever again. Or, you are nodding in agreement and glad that someone finally said it and you want to hear/read more.
My hope and prayer is that you will be weird with me as we pursue something different within youth ministry together. If that is you, may I ask two simple things of you?
- Please pray for my book to be taken by an agent and/or a publisher. I have written a book about this topic, so if you want to read more it needs to get published.
- Read and interact on this blog to show there are other youth workers out there willing to step out and be weird with me.
Are you a weird youth worker? Do you want to be?
Whew, the first post is done. My hope is they only get better from here!