Summer is here and that means it’s time to rest, right?
(Dramatic pause to wait for the laughter drenched in sarcasm to die down.)
One of the biggest misconceptions about youth ministry is that summer time is “down time.” Since many ministries in the parish stop for the summer, most people assume that youth ministry must slow down, as well. As most veteran youth ministers will tell you, however, that’s just not true.
It seems like summers are busier than ever. Summer camps, Steubenville conferences, diocesan rallies, mission trips, and our Notre Dame Leadership Conference (to name a few) all contend for time and energy of teens and leaders. Throw in the “normal” weekday gatherings and Life night activities and you are two steps away from clinical exhaustion.
The result? While teens are out in the summer heat burnin’ up, we’re in offices (and on buses)…burning out.
No rest for the weary? Simply put, that’s not good.
In Psalm 23, God calls us “lay down in pastures…beside still waters.”
In Psalm 46, we’re told to “be still.”
In Mark 4, Jesus tells them to “come away and rest.”
In Matthew 11, our Lord tells us how “easy and light” his burden should be.
From the beginning to the end (literally) of Sacred Scripture, we’re told to rest in God…
In Genesis, we’re told to rest on the Sabbath and in Revelation the only reason Heaven is not “resting” is because of the constant worship (the perfect resting in God)!
Pray this verse with me:
“So then, there remains a sabbath rest for the people of God; for whoever enters God’s rest also ceases from his labors as God did from his. Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, that no one fall by the same sort of disobedience.” – Hebrews 4:9-11
Have you been taking your Sabbath each week? If you work on Sundays, is there another day that acts as your Sabbath? Are you filling it up with other activities (i.e. laundry, errands, grocery, bills, yardwork, cleaning, etc.)?
If you and I are not taking a Sabbath rest, we are not living in God’s image.
And we can’t stop there. Just keeping the Sabbath is not enough (obviously), especially in the midst of summer months when so many people are expecting and requiring so much from us in the way of active ministry!
If we, as youth ministers, do not take care of ourselves spiritually, then we have no right to be in ministry and we will not be effective instruments for the Lord to use. Therefore, whether you are a veteran youth minister or whether this is your first week on the job… let’s hold each other accountable on a few things:
- Morning and Evening Prayer – to start and end the day, every day.
- Time in Adoration, daily – even if it is just for five minutes. Let’s be honest, it is not too far away from our office. Make the chapel your office and your office your workspace.
- Have a Holy Hour… maybe two. Please join the Life Teen Staff and LT family around the world each Thursday at 2 pm EST for a Holy Hour. How powerful to have so many souls across different time zones and continents all united before the Lord in prayer for that hour.
- Spend time in silence, daily.
- Daily Mass – if for some reason you just can’t go daily, have a goal of two daily Masses throughout the course of the week.
- Go to the Sacrament of Reconciliation on a regular basis (I usually suggest at least twice a month).
- Have a book you’re reading for personal spiritual growth, not just for apologetics purposes or for escapism. And here’s a great challenge if you’re anything like me: at some point, finish the book.
This list isn’t by any means complete. Consider it a reminder. Consider it a gentle nudge. Consider this a challenge extended from someone looking in the mirror and saying it to himself first before posting it here.
We are here to walk with you. Thank you for including us in your lives and on your journey. And know that you are loved! Thank you for all you do for the Lord, His Kingdom and His young people.