I have been reminded of five relationships that I need to continually be working on and prioritizing them correctly so that I can be healthy in my ministry.
First is my relationship with Jesus. Am I spending daily time with Him? Do I have a quiet time or is all my time just preparing for another message or Bible study? Do I have time with God as a priority in my schedule? Speaking from past experience if we neglect this most important relationship then we open ourselves to potentially giving in to the many temptations that come our way, from lust, greed, neglecting our families, being a gossip or holding a grudge.
Second is connecting with our families, most importantly our spouses. Do we have set aside time to be together? Are we protecting our nights out away from family? When we are with our spouse are we investing in the relationship by asking good questions and really listening? If you don’t invest in your family today you will pay for it in a different way in the future.
Third is with our Pastor. This can be difficult if you have a Pastor who you don’t connect with often or well. But, there are a lot of ways to keep him informed besides a face to face meeting. Send him an email, leave her a message, drop them a note. One of the best ways is to send him the “thank you” that you receive. I know it can be a bit awkward or appear like you are tooting your own horn but the realities are they will rarely hear the praises from others about you but they will hear the complaints. So, take the opportunity to share with her the positive things happening in your ministry.
Fourth connect with your parents and leaders. Keeping them informed about what you are doing and why is golden. You can’t over communicate. I sometimes feel like I am bombarding my leaders with emails until I hear one of them say, “I didn’t know we were doing that.” Same with our parents keep them informed and get them involved. The more they feel like they can be a part the better it will be for your ministry. Teach parents that they need to serve and be involved, many think their teen doesn’t want them around and for some this might be true but the majority, the majority would see having mom and dad around as a good thing. I will say it again, parents need to be involved in the youth ministry.
And lastly connecting with students as a youth pastor is what we are called to do, or is it? Spending time with students is important but I honestly see it as the last thing on my list of priorities. I am called as a Pastor to equip the saints for ministry (Eph. 4:12) which I will do by spending time with students, especially those who we identify as student leaders and by equipping parents and leaders to help students to grow in their faith. Developing fully devoted followers to Christ is important and it is what I do but I can’t do it alone.
The big picture is this. If I reverse or get this list out of order I begin to walk down a slippery slope. The most important thing a student and my church needs from me is to be faithfully growing in my relationship with Jesus then my wife and family and lastly my ministry responsibilities to my pastor, parents, leaders and students.
Let’s continue to pray for my co-laborers in Christ who I am sure are hurting today and for their churches and the students involved. And pray for me, that I will walk humbly and learn from my own past journey that I need to stay connected more and more to Jesus.