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Youth Ministry As a Place of Rest

Is there any sense where you could honestly describe your ministry as “a place of rest”?

So often, our youth ministries are more accurately considered “places of expectations” or “places of busy-ness.” But what a great gift you give your students when you make your youth ministry (at least sometimes) a “place of rest”!

This isn’t about offering nap time! it’s about creating a safe place for teenagers to let down their guard and relax. It’s about fostering an environment that isn’t always about being busy. It’s about holding up slowness and rest and quiet as powerful spiritual values with huge results in our lives.

This is counter-cultural stuff in most of our churches, where we’ve bought into the cultural value (this isn’t from scripture!) of busy-ness being spiritual. How many times have you heard someone in the church talk about how busy they are, because of their ministry involvements, with the implication that this is a good thing?

I don’t think jesus thinks over-commitment and busy-ness are good things. In fact, jesus seems to think just the opposite! slow down. Teach your students how to slow down. Learn to live in the (initially awkward) space of quiet, and make that a regular part of your youth ministry. Sure, it’s great to play hard, have feisty discussions, and be involved in a passionate pursuit of serving others. But teaching about and providing a space for rest is equally important!

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moestreicher@churchleaders.com'
Mark Oestreicher is a 30-year veteran of youth ministry, and the former President of Youth Specialties. Marko has written or contributed to more than 50 books, including the much-talked-about Youth Ministry 3.0. Marko is a speaker, author, consultant, and leads the Youth Ministry Coaching Program.