It’s an agreement between two parties – both sides have to give something for it to work. So last week I introduced the first promise from the We Love Our Youth Worker (WLOYW) covenant – the church’s promise to pray for its youth worker and the youth ministry. I don’t want to overlook that the covenant works both ways – the youthworker also promises to pray for the church, its leaders and members and members of the community.
This week covers both sides of the second promise – the promise from the church to give the youth worker space for retreat and reflection as well as the promise of the youth worker to make own spiritual growth a priority.
With this promise, the church says:
We believe that taking time to think and pray is just as essential for our youth worker as organizing events and meeting young people.
We promise to encourage our youth worker to use part of his or her schedule to give space for retreat, reflection and personal development.
What does this look like in your ministry? Do you have time set aside each year for your own retreat and sabbath? You plan retreats for young people – when was the last time you went on a retreat for yourself? Does the staff of your church have spiritual retreat time? If you don’t do this already, I encourage you to find someone in your congregation this week that will make your spiritual development a priority. Maybe you need someone to hold you accountable or to be your advocate for retreat time, maybe you need to join an adult Bible study…do whatever it takes so you can connect with God.
The other half of the promise is that we have to make our own spiritual growth and health a priority. By agreeing to this covenant, the youth worker here says:
We promise to spend time reading God’s Word, take time for retreat and reflection and find ways to keep our faith fresh and growing.
This is a tricky one for me – because as much as I’d like to complain that I work so hard in youth ministry that I don’t get a chance to take a break, I’ve got to own that it’s my fault if I don’t take control of my own schedule and make my spiritual health a priority. Our culture honors and rewards busy-ness. Being busy all the time planning events, leading events, rescuing youth from problems, sending texts, writing Facebook messages – all that never made me a hero. In fact, it’s fruitless to be caught up and busy pouring your life and heart into others if you’re not getting spiritually fed yourself. You can’t give what you don’t have, right?
Here’s the deal – There is only one you. God called you with your unique gifts to where you are in ministry and you are qualified to be there. So how are things between you and God?
I am in youth ministry because I discovered Christ’s love and wanted to share that with young people…maybe we all are. If we don’t hold on to that love and make time to connect with God, how do we know that what we are doing is God’s will?
How does your church support your spiritual growth?
Have you had success or struggles in this area?
What strategies have you used to make sure you have your own spiritual health taken care of?
What keeps you from spending more time with God?