The start of a new month and the start of a new year. That's twice the opportunity to start things off right. As I think about what this month/year might hold, I know that there is one thing I can control, how I do my job as a youth worker.
It's true of all of us. While we might not be able to control all that comes down the pike. But I can control how I do what I am called to do. As I think about that, I think about those thinks that I can do. Things that might help be become a better youth worker. Things that might lead be to respond better to students. Things that might help as I work with parents. And that leads me to consider the following three things that I know I can do to be better at what I do.
NUMBER ONE: GET TO KNOW A FRIDGE KID
Every group has them. They sit off towards the back of the room. They don't really talk to anyone. They're a little different from the rest of the students. Quiet. Awkward. And ready and waiting for you to take an interest in them. It's sometimes easy to overlook these kids simply because they aren't as outgoing as your other students. I remember back to those early years finding myself drifting towards the kids that were easy to talk to, get along with, and have fun. It took a lot of work to train myself to look for and respond to the fringe kids. Conversations were usually a little more challenging, but if you work out it, you'll find that these kids have a lot to offer the rest of the group!
NUMBER TWO: HAVE LUNCH WITH A PARENT
I can't tell you how helpful it is to have lunch with a parent. This is practice that you should try to accomplish as much as possible. Think about it, as you reach out to the student, you work to get to know them; their likes, dislikes, their story, hopes, dreams, etc. Now apply that same effort to the parent. The payoff for this is huge. 1. You have the opportunity to share your passion for what you do. 2. You get to know a parent and a family that could become a big supporter of your ministry. 3. You get to brag on the student, which makes the parents feel great. 4. You get a glimpse at the family/home life of the student. 5. You might discover a cheerleader. Now it might now always bring a big payout, but when it does it's huge.
NUMBER THREE: TAKE SOME ME TIME
This one is super important. Not long into my career as a youth pastor it was suggested to me as I think about caring for others, that I should also be taking care of myself. That means that as I plan my calendar for each week, month, year, I need to be taking time for me. Time to rest, reconnect, and recharge. Time to simply be in the presence of God. Time to have some fun. Time to be. I cannot stress enough, the importance of scheduling time for yourself. So don't be afraid to take a day or two every couple of weeks so you can pause and get some me time!
There you are. Certainly not earth shattering ideas never heard before, but great ideas to help you be a little better as a youth worker. So here's to a new year and a few new habits!
PS - As you get started with 2015, what are you doing to help improve your ministry? What do you hope to do better in 2015? Join the conversation and share your thoughts! Post in the comment below! Thanks!