Time Out: Weekly quiet times for the youth worker’s soul.
(by Tim Schmoyer)
A few weeks ago when I landed in Haiti I thought, “This is gonna be great! We’ll crank out our training this afternoon and tomorrow we’ll be out doing what we came here to do.” We had so much to accomplish in such a short period of time. It was essential to get working as soon as possible… or so I thought.
After spending the first day locked up in our compound doing nothing but praying, studying God’s Word, spending time in worship and going through last-minute prep and training material, I’ll admit I was itching to get out the door and start serving. When the same thing happened the second day, my itch had turned to frustration. “I can do this kind of stuff at home. Why are we using our time now to pray and worship when there are people outside this compound that I can help?”
It was then that the Holy Spirit convicted me and said, “Tim, if you go out and serve now you’ll be doing it in your own strength instead of mine. I’ll let you leave once you become the person I need you to be so you can do what I’ve called you to do.” Ouch.
I was so focused on what I wanted to do that I forgot that what’s really important is who God’s called me to be — a servant who is 100% dependent on reliant on Him, someone whose ministry flows from what God’s doing in me rather than from my agenda of to-do’s that honestly exist to mostly make me feel like I’ve actually accomplishing something.
Perhaps the most detrimental thing that can happen to our personal spiritual growth is becoming so busy that we start doing ministry and miss the opportunity to become the person God desires. God wants our heart more than our actions.
But it’s so easy to focus on the actions:
- Preparing bible studies
- Going to students’ graduation parties
- Meeting with adult leaders
- Encouraging parents
All these things are good, but not if you’re doing them through your own strength instead of letting God work through you and the person He’s molding you to be. He doesn’t care what you do as much as He cares who you are, because then what you do will flow out of who you are. It’s so easy to define your identity and even your self-worth by your task-oriented ministry. God wants your identity to be wrapped up in Him.
Have you ever thought something like:
- I’ll pray with Johnny tonight. I don’t need to take the time to stop and pray for him now.
- I’ll skip reading my Bible because I’ll read it tonight with the youth group.
- I’ve got too much to do today to stop and introduce myself to kid working the checkout counter. (Can you say, “good Samaritan priest?”)
Your relationship with God is more important than the important things you do in ministry. Hunger for Him so deeply that your passion for knowing God can’t help but be so contagious that is spreads to the teenagers around you. Become the youth worker who’s known for loving God so much that service is an expression of that love instead of it being your job.
John 15:4-5, “Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”
- What’s happening in your relationship with God right now?
- What warning signs do you see in your life that indicate you are more focused on ministry and task than on becoming a man/woman of God?
- How can you become something deeper than just a director of events and Bible studies for teenagers, or someone that makes youth group “happen?”
Posted on June 7, 2010