We all need to recharge our batteries from time to time. Let’s face it. Many of us youth leaders have a sense of being continuously “on call.” Twenty-four/seven we’re always on the hunt for teaching illustrations and new, creative strategies for lighting a fire for Jesus under our sometimes spiritually apathetic students. We’re continuously taking the pulse of our students via social media updates and keeping an eye on the shifting social dynamics within our group.
If there’s a crisis in a student’s life, we try our best to be available to help, no matter the day or hour. Even if we’re part time or volunteer, we’re pretty much always standing ready to put on one of our many youth leader hats: teacher, counselor, friend, shepherd, role model and complaint-handler-in-chief.
When this is your reality, it’s doubly important that you adopt strategies to avoid burnout. If you’re continually running on empty, I guarantee that your efforts to make a lasting impact in the lives of students and in the community at large will suffer. Figuring out ways to recharge will help with your discipleship multiplication strategy. After all, a Gospel Advancing Ministry is more than a youth strategy; it’s a lifestyle committed to the gospel.
Try This! ❯
From the list, pick out one way to recharge your batteries this week.
Here are six ways to recharge your batteries.
1. Spend time with God
Perhaps the most obvious, yet oftentimes forgotten, is to spend time with God. Scripture tells us repeatedly that we will find our rest in God (Exodus 33:14; Psalm 127:2; Matthew 11:28-30). Ministry is an outpouring of what God has placed inside of us. Trying to fulfill THE Cause won’t work if God’s Spirit isn’t flowing through our efforts. Make your time of connection with God an unnegotiable priority. Ask God for help, and allow His Spirit to restore you.
2. Ask for help
Youth leaders have a tendency to work themselves to the bone. Saying the word no is almost non-existent in their vocabulary. Why? Because THE Cause matters, and youth leaders recognize that they play an important part in helping others come to Christ. But youth group is a group effort, and youth leaders need to ask for help if and when they need it. Here is one way to get the help you need: Take out a piece of paper and write down all of your on-going weekly responsibility. Identify which responsibilities are essential for you to do and then ask for help in the other areas.
3. Make rest a priority
The New York Times reported that “short afternoon naps, longer sleep hours, more time away from the office and longer, more frequent vacations” boosts productivity, performance and health. Isn’t it interesting when the secular world stumbles onto God’s principles without even knowing it? The whole concept of building a space of “rest” into our life rhythms was His idea. Basically, every form of rest, short of not showing up to work, seems to boost productivity. And while getting paid to sleep may not be an option for you, building out a schedule that is conducive for rest will help you do your job effectively.
4. Give up the martyr complex
Don’t let yourself suffer from a “martyr complex” by being convinced that no one else is capable of doing the work. Not allowing yourself to have any time off will just wear you thin and not allow for others to have roles in the church. Giving opportunities for others to serve—especially students—helps the church grow its gifts. And that’s actually an essential part of disciple multiplication!
5. Exercise more and eat nutritiously
When I was younger, I use to poke fun at one of my friends in youth ministry who was known for spending hours each day at the gym. I would quote 1 Timothy 4:8, and say, “For bodily exercise profits a little” (KJV). He would always reply, “But it does profit some!” He was right. Through exercise we are able to take care of the temple that God has given us, release stress and feel better about ourselves. Make it a weekly goal to do some form of exercise a few times per week. Plus, being out and about is usually when we are able to experience those hilarious life-stories we love telling during youth group.
6. Use outside curriculum
One way to lighten your load is by looking through your ministry calendar and identifying the demanding seasons within youth ministry like your youth retreats, church-wide campaigns, summer activities, etc. Then, purchase a multi-week curriculum for those busier seasons. That way you can save the time that you would have spent preparing the message and replace it with keeping up with seasonal demands.
Trying to lead a ministry while you’re burned out is like trying to make a phone call with a dead battery; it just won’t work. Take the time to recharge your batteries so that you can do a better job leading and living out THE Cause of Christ. Taking care of some of your own needs will energize you to more effectively model a gospel advancing lifestyle.