Just One Part

Building A Philosophy Of Sustainable Youthwork


Youth Ministry is fun, crazy, wild, loud, quiet, reflective, and exhausting. Sometimes it can be all these things in one night, depending on the youth ministry. Just like any other ministry in the church it can drain you down very quickly if you don’t very carefully set some boundaries and invest in some self care. Let’s talk about why this is important and how you go about doing this.

Youth Ministry is NOT YOUR LIFE

If we are not careful, and I am including myself in this statement our calling as Youth Ministers can become our lives. God really does love what you do for the youth and parents at your church, but that is just the tip of what He wants for you. God wants to bless you immeasurably and we are only focused on the job then we actually hurt ourselves, our students, and ultimately God. I would encourage at least a day in your week that is just sabbath. No, this is different that just taking a day off, this is rest, and everything you do that day ultimately helps you decompress and rest. It’s ok to be selfish when it comes to your sabbath. It’s important. The following are 3 examples of self-care you can do during the week.

1. Media Fast  – I think it’s safe to say that we have come to a point in our society where we are very connected to each other. Being connected to each other is a good thing, something that I think we can and do use for spreading the gospel through that connection. However, just like anything else it’s all about balance. A media fast on your sabbath helps with that balance. We do need to be connected, but I would argue that there are times when we need to be disconnected. Think balance in your media usage.

2. Go Do Something Enriching – When was the last time you went to a park? A movie? Read a book in the outside? Just as important it is for others to do this, it is important to you as well. For your sabbath you need to think about things that will enrich you.

My wife and I have the same sabbath day and occasionally we will go to a park or several parks in our area of Granbury, TX and bring a camera with black and white film in it. Yes I said film. Last time we did this we went to “Big Rocks Park” in Glen Rose, TX and walked around the rocks and took pictures as we walked and experienced God’s creation. It is always enriching because you are outside and your not stressed about what coming next. You are in God’s creation soaking it in.

I cannot stress how important this for you and your life. Don’t do what I did, but think about what would enrich you, relax you, and connect you to our Creator.

3. Just plain sleep – Let’s go back to our first point in this post. Ministry can be fun, crazy, wild, loud, quiet, reflective, and exhausting. Sometimes before you can focus on fasts or doing something enriching you just need to sleep. Sometimes it really is that simple.

What motivated this post was being a youth minister and knowing what we all go through on a weekly basis. I love what you all do for the youth of your community, it’s freaking awesome. I love that you listen where others won’t or just don’t, I love that you laugh where others just look at youth weird, but ultimately I love that you love youth.

Christ is shining through you. Keep up the good and remember Youth Ministry is not your life, it’s just one part of what God desires for you.

Thanks for all you do for the Kingdom of God!

Grace and Peace,

Bradley W. Alexander

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