As I shared earlier this month, I’ve committed to re-reading 12 of my most favorite youth ministry books, as a way to rediscover and re-energize my ministry. I decided to start with, Your First Two Years in Youth Ministry, by Doug Fields. It’s been a good number of years since I’ve read it, so another look through “experienced” eyes should be good.
Well, I just finished the first three chapters, and already I am finding myself being challenged to ask some hard questions. Questions like longevity in ministry and my stamina for the next year, 5 years, or 10 years, thoughts about the disappointment, discouragements, frustrations, and failure that I’ve experienced, and now the condition of my spiritual health.
You know, it’s amazing how quickly ministry becomes normalized. Over the last 20 years, I’ve heard dozens of speakers/trainers talk and warn about the condition of the heart and body and how important it is that we are on our toes. And like many who serve in full time youth ministry, I have had my share of ups, downs, and the occasional loop-da-loops. But more recently, I have felt God’s confirmation, encouragement, and leading in exciting ways. Yet, Doug’s thoughts, cautions, suggestions, and heart, are causing the words to leap of the page and pierce the depths of my heart.
It’s so important that we, as youth workers, remember the importance of starting off right, pursuing a healthy, growing relationship with our Father, and the “wisdom” to deal with discouragement. Ministry is tough. And while some aspects get easier, there is much of what we do and how we live that only gets harder. Satan is looking for the smallest crack, the tiniest opening where he can get a claw’s grip and whisper the lies the cause doubt, fear, and worry.
If how I feel after the first 3 chapters is any gauge of what’s to come, it’s going to be an exciting ride. I want to be a good youth worker, a great husband and father, and a faithful friend. But I’ll be nothing if I’m not do those thing with God.
I guess the lesson is, we’re never done.
I’m sure I’ll have many more thoughts as I work through this book. So keep checking in as I share what God is doing in my heart.