Time Out: Weekly quiet times for the youth worker’s soul.
(by Tony Myles)
Have you ever noticed how the “non-behavior behavior” of your students and adult leaders affects your ministry? Every volunteer and teenager has a sort of unconscious groove that when put together with everyone else can tell you a few things about the maturity, comfort level, interests, and distractions of your group.
This doesn’t mean you can make a generalization from afar but should consider what is happening in your midst so you better know your in-road to better engage the young people. Think about what everyone does the moment you conclude your youth night:
* A boy who stands up and quickly after the program, sits on the back of the chair in front of him, and surveys the room for cute girls.
* A small group leader who is making connections with the new kids, being sure they felt welcomed.
* A girl who gets her friend to go with her to talk with a guy she likes.
* A kid on the theological fence asking you what you meant by that one thing you said about that one thing.
* The teenagers dressed in black who slip into a room they shouldn’t be in by themselves.
* The athletic looking guys who are still talking about the crazy competition that involved trash cans over their heads.
* The plans a group of influential girls are making to get everyone to go out for ice cream.
* The young person who doesn’t want to be there in the first place and bolts out the door as soon as possible.
* Two students sitting down together talking, because the one who gave the other a ride asked, “So what did you think?”
In every one of these scenarios, there’s an opportunity to see what is happening based on what has happened… and join into it. Even someone who has flipped open their phone to start texting can become someone you intersect with in order that more conversation and life change can continue. “Alright, who is the most important person on the other end of your phone right now? How come? etc”
Colossians 4:5 Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.
This requires you and the other youth workers you serve with to be intentional about maximizing this window, though. And all of that tracks back to your connection with God in those moments. Ministry does often happen in what we plan, but a significant portion occurs “before” and “after.” Pray and ask God to lead help you best evaluate what is happening in between the lines.
Here’s some questions for you to think about and reflect on…
* What does this verse mean to you in light of these thoughts?
* How can you help the other leaders around you to not go on auto-pilot but intentionally engage students at “up” and “down” moments in ministry?
Tony Myles is a 16-year youth ministry veteran who now serves as lead pastor of Connection Church in Medina, Ohio. His love for the Church and its future has spilled out into writing, coaching, and conference speaking. He’s written the book Miracles of Jesus and helped produce Christian Endeavor’s Pray21 campaign. And he really, really likes smoothies.
Posted on July 5, 2010