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How to Find Summer Balance in Your Youth Ministry

How to Find Summer Balance in Your Youth Ministry

Having served in student ministry for over 25 years I have learned something about summer balance and time. This summer, youth leaders, you will be taking students to camp and on mission trips, water parks, amusement parks, the beach, etc. Make sure you balance your ministry time and your family time. If you are single make sure to balance your “you” time. I have heard of churches hiring youth pastors, church staff, who are single because “they will have more time.” No one on this planet has more time than anyone else. We all have the same amount of time each day.

Youth Pastors

Take some extra time off. Summer can be super busy for you. Flex your hours. If you just spent two days on a youth trip take some extra time off, at least an extra day. If you take students to camp or mission trip try to take the next week off (as much as possible). Go in late to the office on the day after a trip. If you are a morning person like me take off early the next day.

Volunteer and Part Time
I stand and applaud you. I’m sure the last thing you want to see on social media is a full timer complaining about being busy or working too much. You, of all in student ministry, need to be extra careful with your time. You are juggling family, your “real” job and ministry. Make sure during the busy summer season you take time off from ministry and spend time with your family. I grew up a pastor’s son. I remember, as a little kid, sitting in the station wagon on Thursday evenings while my dad and a deacon were on visitation. Looking back I did that just so I could spend time with my dad who was bi-vocational. That is not the same as playing catch with your dad and having his undivided attention.I know when I’ve taken family with me to camps, while yes they are there with me, I’m not there with them 100 percent. Your family needs time with you 100 percent, they are your first ministry and first priority.

Church Leaders

Senior pastors, elder board, personnel committee, your student ministry pastor gears up and gets really busy in the summer. How can your church make sure he/she is taking some extra time off after a big event, camp or mission trip?
Who will hold him/her accountable to take some extra time off?
But what if leadership is on board with flex hours and taking extra time off that doesn’t count against vacation time and members complain?
Have a pre planned statement, something like this:
“Bobby works hard and puts in full work weeks all year long. When Bobby takes our students to _____ he puts in lots of extra hours. We are allowing Bobby flex time so he can rest, relax and spend quality time with his family. Our church loves Bobby and we don’t want him to burn out or for his family to suffer. I’m sure you agree that Bobby’s health and family should come first so he can be more effective serving here with us.”

Guard your time this summer, find that balance between work and family, and find that person to hold you accountable.

This article originally appeared here.

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Andy Lawrenson is the student and ministry teams pastor at Nags Head Church in North Carolina. Andy has been in student ministry for 25 years as both a volunteer and a paid staff member. Andy and his wife, Misha, have been married for 28 years and have three children: a son in middle school and twin eight-year-olds, a boy and girl.