Hayley James

sustaining youth workers - what brings you life

by mjjames15/10/2009

this is a blog i hadn't planned to write, but the theme came to me at the weekend when i was running one of our circuits youth groups. during the session i was really blessed by the young people and their engagement with the theme we were studying and i had that feeling that many of us probably know of 'this is why i'm a youth worker - this is what it's all about'. right there in that moment i felt completely alive and completely blessed to do the job i have. and this is what this blog is about - ensuring that in what ever it is you are doing you are having these moments, where you truely feel alive and in the right place. technically this phenomenom is termed 'doing what brings you life'. which means doing things that renew, refresh, encourage and inspire you. doing things that make you feel 'alive' and motivate you to do more.

the opposite of things that 'bring you life' are things that 'bring you death'. those are the things that leave you feeling drained, uninspired, unmotivated and take away the passion that you have for the work you are called too. now i recognise that in all of our lives there are things that we have to do that are not always focused on 'the best parts of youth ministry', that is something we all have to endure, so i'm not saying to stop doing those things you least enjoy about your job. but what i am saying is that if you are in a place where you are only encountering things that 'bring you death' and leave you robbed of the enthusiasm you most likely started this work with, then maybe you need to re-evaluate what it is you are doing, why you are doing it and your attitudes to those things.

if we are going to be long term youth workers/ministers and want to sustain our ministry, then we need to be ensuring that we are focusing on the areas that bring us life. we need to be putting our energies into situations and sessions that encourage and inspire us and motivate us to continue growing the work we are involved in. for if you are in a place where you are only experiencing 'death' it will not be long before all your youth worker colour so to speak is drained away and you are left feeling flat and ineffective.

in this area self awareness is key. as sometimes it is not the situation itself that brings us death but our own attitudes towards it. sometimes we can be our own biggest enemies. so my advice this week - if you are feeling slightly grey and like you are trudging through a battlefield or even if you are not and just want to build a sustainable youth ministry, is to take some time and think about those things that you know have brought you life. think about your own attitudes and views at those times and evaluate your circumstances now in light of that. it will help you to focus your attitude on what you need it to be and to put your energies into the things that will bring you life and therefore bring a vibrancy and sustainabiltiy to your work.

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