As a youth leader your life is go, go, go, all the time. You probably just finished a very hectic semester where you barely had time to breathe and now you are headed into a summer where you will finally get a break, right? If your ministry is anything like mine the answer to that is NO! This summer I have VBS, two camps, mission trip, my family visiting, my wife’s family visiting, and a few other random youth ministry day trips. And my guess is that my summer is not much different than most of the youth workers out there. It is like this, have you ever been on a vacation that you came back from more tired than when you left? That pretty much describes the youth pastors’ summer. Summer is supposed to be a time of rest and relaxation although that is definitely not the case for a youth worker! So, how do you find rest in the midst of a hectic summer?
1. Be intentional about finding rest
Don’t fill up every second of your time. Your summer will be extremely busy without you committing to extra things in between camps, and mission trips. This might require you to say no to some things in order to find that rest. Saying no can be one of the hardest things to do because we don’t want to disappoint and we do want to help out. That is why we are in ministry in the first place. But when it comes to finding rest it is essential that you leave the down times (no matter how few they are) as actual down times and do not fill them with busyness.
Plan for rest time. When you are planning your summer make sure that you also include a family vacation even if is just a stay-cation where you just hangout at home and around town with your family. Turn off your phone, don’t check your email, and just relax. If you do not plan for it, it will not happen (Yes I am speaking from experience). Be intentional about finding rest because in the life of a youth worker, rest and down time does not just happen accidentally.
2. Find rest for more than just your body.
Spiritually and mentally you need rest as well. A lot times these are the areas that get overlooked but more times than not those are the areas needing rest the most. It is easy to realize that you body needs rest especially after a week at camp! Lack of sleep, sore muscles, and maybe a pulled hamstring are all quick reminders of that but sometimes we forget about rest for our minds, and our spiritual well being.
Mentally. Find time to just check out. Turn your brain off when it comes to ministry, students, and all the things that you need to do. Go on a date with your spouse, do something with your friends where you can rest mentally, read a book (if that will make you relax), go see a movie, so you can check out mentally and intentionally find rest for your mind.
Spiritually. This can be the most important place to get rest, rest for your soul. Often times when we get busy the first thing to suffer is our personal walk with The Lord. Rest in The Lord, read a new book for you, not for ministry. Study God’s word for you, not for a sermon. Take an over night trip to spend time with just you and God. You will come back full! Matthew 11:28 “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.” The Lord promises rest for our souls when we come to Him and the rest that He will provide is the best there is!
Summer is a crazy time, but so are fall, winter, and spring. That is just how the life of a youth worker goes. This is why it is so important that we DO find rest in the midst of this hectic summer. Be intentional about finding and planning for rest, and make sure that you are finding rest for more than just your body.