finishing a night right…

Posted: January 12, 2012 in Youth Ministry

If you work in Youth Ministry, how do you finish off your busy night?  When the students have all gone home, when the youth space is somewhat cleared of all the chaos, what’s your process for wrapping things up?

We’ve all been there, the day goes bad, the lesson bombs, students are driving you crazy and all you want to do is scream or turn in your resignation letter, but honestly there has to be a better way of dealing with life in Youth Ministry.  Here’s my way of dealing with it, definitely not a perfect way, but a way to not let it drive you out of what God has called you into:

Let it out:  Every Wednesday night, (the night we do our Sr. High large group) I get in my car and drive the 25 minutes home.  This is a great time for me to be able to start to process the night, to unwind, but also my time to make sure that I’m letting out whatever went on that night, both good and bad.  Here are the couple of people that I call:

  • Jaimie, my wife.  She is the first one to hear from me, not just so I can let her know that I’m on my way home but also so she is involved in my ministry.  I’ve never expected my wife to be a constant presence in my ministry, and luckily my church doesn’t expect this either.  But I can be honest and say that she is the most important person to my ministry.  Her love, support and encouragement is necessary for me to be able to do ministry.  I call her, let her know I’m on my way and give her a brief summary of the night.
  • Aaron, my brother.  Aaron has worked in ministry, both as a Youth Pastor and currently at a church camp in Minnesota.  It’s great for me to be able to bounce off ideas to someone who has been there, to vent about the craziness the night was, or to shout out with excitement with God had done that night.
  • God.  Of course this is a given, but I take my time in my drive home to make sure that I call out to God for what had taken place that night.  Sometimes it’s a call out, other times its a crying out to God.  Either way, my time with God is vital to ending my Wednesday nights right.

Evaluate– I’m lucky to have a schedule that allows me to work from home on Thursdays, and this is the perfect time for me to evaluate how the previous nights gathering was.  I love to be able to sit down and go through all that took place, to follow up with those who helped, our I had conversations with that night, or followup with those who weren’t there.  It’s important to be able to evaluate while things are fresh.

Remind- This one has become more and more important to my life in ministry.  Lately we’ve seen a lot of great things happen in our group, and some changes that we’ve needed to address.  Our group has been growing like crazy, both numerically and spiritually.  It would be really easy for me to seek ways to continue this growth numerically, to amp up our draw, to seek ways to entertain more, but this is my time to remind myself of my calling.  It’s easy to lose sight of your calling in ministry when things are changing.  When a student is upset because they think you are showing favorites in the group, when the leadership continues to pressure so you continue to grow the numbers, when you dive in immediately to start planning for the next gathering instead of taking time to seek God, this is my time to remind me of my calling so that I can stay true to that.

How do you finish your night right?

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