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How to Guard Your Time in Ministry

The last couple of weeks have been brutal as we get ready for a new season of student ministry. Even though the day still has 24 hours, it feels like my time and margin have been cut by 70 percent. During these seasons of busyness, it’s important to guard your time. Anytime a new season approaches, the amount of work to get done and people to contact exponentially grows. If you aren’t watching your margin, you’ll crash and burn quickly.

Every youth minister needs to prepare before entering a busy season. If unprepared, those seasons can seem endless and can be dangerous to the longevity of a youth minister. When this happens, it’s important to take a step back, re-evaluate your priorities and get some guidance. To avoid the mess of an endless busy season, it’s important guard your time by:

Learning when to say “No”: When you put too much on your plate, you basically slow down your level of productivity. Guard your time by knowing what you have to do and how to say “No” to the rest. To figure out what you have to do and what to delegate away, look at your job description and see what it is that only you can do. Anything that takes you away from your responsibilities will serve as a distraction from what needs to get done.

Setting Out a Schedule: To guard your time, you need to discover how to be the most efficient worker possible. Setting out a schedule helps you discover the most direct path to your goals. Know when you are most creative and when you can be most productive. Be sure to always give yourself margin.

Clarify Boundaries: Guard your time by being clear with people when it’s best to contact and leave you alone. When you are with family or quiet time with God, make sure it’s protected. Give people permission as to when they can call, email and text you. When people see your boundaries, they have a better understanding of when to and not to cross them.

There is a lot of sensitivity when it comes to your time and that’s because it’s one commodity that once gone can never be retrieved. No one wants to waste time, and that can happen when you go over its capacity. Make it a priority, revisit your schedules and boundaries so that you can make sure you do what you can do best.

How do you struggle to guard your time?  

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Chris graduated from Xavier University in 2003 with a BA in Communications: Electronic Media. He moved to Baltimore in the fall of 2003 where he served as a Jesuit Volunteer for a year. During that time, he was a Case Manager at Chase Brexton, met his wife Kate and felt God's calling to Student Ministry. In the summer of 2004, he was hired by the Roman Catholic Parish Church of the Nativity in Timonium, Maryland as a Middle School Youth Minister. Today he oversees grades 5-12 as the Director of Student Ministry.