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Finding Time to Rest – Part 1 [Time Out]

Time Out quiet times for the youth worker's soulTime Out: Weekly quiet times for the youth worker’s soul.
(by Adam Wormann)

Ministry is long.  And busy.  And never seems to end.  I love it, I think it’s important, and I don’t bemoan doing it (well, most of the time), but it is constant.  This morning, meeting with two other youth pastors, 2 of the 3 of us got calls about students in crisis, while we were sharing stories about crazy things that have happened in our ministries.  This is after the call yesterday from a parent, very concerned about something their kid posted on line.  And it keeps going.

But our ministries are nowhere near as busy as Jesus’ ministry.  Yet, he still found time away.  Look at these two passages from Mark:

“And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed.”  -Mark 1:35

“Immediately he made his disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd.  And after he had taken leave of them, he went up on the mountain to pray.” – Mark 6:45-46

As youth workers, paid and volunteer (let’s face it, volunteers usually work/school full time, then invest crazy amounts of time with students on top of it!), we need time to rest.  We need to be refreshed.  Tragically, we often don’t take the time to do it.  Or we rest, but don’t invest spiritually because of all the other time we spend studying, preparing messages, and reading blogs during the week.  We functionally act as if that is enough, even though once again it’s pouring into others.  Selflessness is great, but if Jesus needed to take time away from everything, so do we.

Take out a Bible and look up the two passages at the top.  Seriously, grab a Bible and turn there.  Look what’s around them.  There’s intensity to Jesus ministry.  Not to compare us to Jesus, but there’s times when ministry is really busy, and those times are frequent.  Bottom line, we cannot pour into others if we don’t take the time to be refreshed ourselves.  That’s what Jesus modeled.  It usually doesn’t happen through services that we’re in some way involved in.  It doesn’t happen (usually) when we’re studying with the point of teaching.  We need to take the time out ourselves.

God created the Sabbath for a reason.  It’s a pattern for us to follow.  We don’t need to be legalistic about it, but we do need to be realistic about the way God has wired us – that we need rest.  So, if you haven’t done it, schedule a time to rest.  Take the day to be with family.  Mark off part of that time to be alone with God.  Don’t check your work email.  At all.  Don’t peek.  Emails can wait.  Don’t plan out your events, or try to multitask with family.  God told us to rest, let’s honor Him by resting.

Here’s some questions to think about.  (Lots of times, we get to the question part read the Q’s, then close out.  That’s not reflecting, refreshing, or growing, that’s a task.  Don’t let it become a task, let it be a time to feed your soul.)

-What do I need to rest from?  What is draining me? (Doesn’t have to be bad)

-What is it that’s refreshing for me?

-What am I doing that’s really helping me connect to God, outside of ministry?  What do I need to do?

-Am I really being faithful in rest?

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Adam Wormann is a Youth Pastor in Old Bridge, NJ where he’s been serving for the past 8 years. He is also one of the mentors at Life in Student Ministry and the editor of the “Time Out” series. You can stalk him on Twitter and Facebook.


Posted on May 24, 2010

  • Adam, thanks for including volunteers in your description of youth workers. I love our paid folks to death, but I wonder if the reality of doing student ministry on top of our "real" jobs can escape their minds from time to time. My wife and I are very committed in our involvement, and even use a good chunk of our vacation hours to go to summer camp and the mission trip. I wonder – what would a "volunteer sabbatical" look like in our ministries?

  • Pingback: Sabbath - Part 2 [Time Out] | Life in Student Ministry()

  • I love volunteers, especially ones that are doing the stuff that you are…really committed and doing everything it takes for the sake of the students in the ministry. Thanks for what you're doing.

    If you mean a sabbath for volunteers, I guess I think along the lines that you have a two day weekend, typically. Make sure you take one! If you're pouring into others one of those days (most often Sunday), take more rest on Saturday. I know it's not really work on Sunday that you're doing in the technical sense that it's not your job, but the point is that you need to take specific time to be refreshed.

    As far as a sabbatical is concerned, I make sure my leaders take some time off during the summer. I cancel youth group, get other people to teach Sunday School, and make sure my leaders have time to rest. I have a couple of YM events that I tell the leaders that their attendance is optional for, and try to do a training time at the end of the summer.

    If we don't take the intentional time to rest, that can lead to big issues.

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