Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Welcome to Youth Ministry Leadership!

Hello, everyone, and thanks for checking out the new blog!

This blog covers youth ministry, leadership, and church life. I will put things here that are useful for anybody in a position of leadership in youth ministry: whether full-time youth leaders, volunteer adult leaders, student leaders, or any minister-leader in the church. Much of what is posted here will have applications beyond youth ministry and church life, too.

I'll post some of my own reflections and writings, as well as links and excerpts from other sources I think folks would find helpful.

Let me know what you think by commenting on a given post! To do this, just click on the bottom of the post where it says "Comments."

To begin the discussion, I wanted to post my brief review of a book called What Matters Most by Doug Fields. If you've read it, I'd love to hear your feedback, which you can post as a comment.

Fields has written a short, to-the-point, practical yet reflective book on why learning to say, "No," and then practicing saying it, is essential to staying healthy in a ministry leadership position. Although Fields is a vocational youth minister and writes with vocational youth ministers as his primary audience, this book applies to anyone in ministry--paid or unpaid, full-time, part-time, or volunteer--and to anyone who is busy.

Early on he writes, "I want to challenge you to say no more often so you can say yes to what matters most" (18). Fields points out some warning signs that can help you discern if you're addicted to busyness, or if you're putting doing ministry above loving God (for example, by consistently counting the time you spend preparing a talk or small group lesson as your own personal devotional time). He also talks about practical action steps you can take to bring things back under control.

Jesus said, "Apart from me you can do nothing" (John 15:5). The temptation is always there for the minister to do more, be more, accomplish more, and say "yes" more. Yet as you do this, you risk damaging your first love: your relationship with Christ. Fields's short book is a call back to that first love with a clear escape route from any busyness, overworking, or people-pleasing that may have entrapped you.

Those of you who have read either the book or this post, what are warning signs you've learned to look out for as you fight busyness? What has God taught you in this area?


  1. Just to get the ball rolling, I'll answer the question myself--one sure sign of too much busyness for me is not getting to work out or get to the gym several times a week! This is a really high priority for me, and when it lapses, I know that other areas are out of balance....

    God's taught me that my level of busyness is often an indication of taking things into my own hands, rather than stepping back and really relying on God.

  2. Hmmm a sign of busyness for me would be that I don't get time for myself I guess. It doesn't happen as much often as it did last year, but I now seem to waste my time. haha. That is really what screws me up with that is my time management, but thats another story. anyways.... good post Abram, look forward to reading more.

  3. Time for yourself is so important. Being 'out of balance' effects everyone around you, especially those closest to you.

  4. I think I need to go back and read the book. But until I do, here are my inital thoughts: I think you can have a good level of busyness, but then if you are just doing things to do them that's not a good thing. Last weekend, extremely busy, but I saw God at work in it all. But I don't think God wants everyweekend to be like that.
    I think I sound very luke warm in this.

  5. I'll jump in with my first blog comment ever! I find that there are God ordained "seasons" in my life. Some "seasons" are full of active and productive work. At other times God arranges a "season" of rest and refelction for me to enjoy. The important things is to have "ears to hear what the Spirit is saying" and to be obedient.

  6. I always was convicted by Luther's practice of finding more time for prayer at his busiest time, instead of cutting it out in order to do those busy things...I think it's so easy to relegate our spiritual walk to another line on the "to do" list, and not the centering, inner-prioritizing, sustaining activity that makes able to be, and then to do.

  7. I like Laura's comment because it indicates the whole issue may be more nuanced than a simple, "daily" inventory of how busy I may have been. Her ability to recognize longer seasons of activity and non-activity is a great insight. She sounds like a pretty wise person! This is Jeff Meadows writing but I come under "Anonymous" b/c I don't have the time/ability to figure out Googleblogging id! As they say: LOL (lol?).