How To Navigate The Crazy Seasons of Youth Ministry

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know it’s been slightly quieter than normal in the last few weeks. I’m sorry if you have missed your regular 2-3 posts per week, but there’s been a lot going on in life and ministry… In the last 7 weeks I have:

  • Finished my Masters Degree!
  • Attended the FAM Leadership Network through
  • Travelled back to the UK for two weeks to visit my mom who has Alzheimer’s
  • Taken a team on a relief mission trip to New Jersey for Hurricane Sandy clean up
  • Begun a transition in my current church ministry

Youth Ministry Navigation

I’ll be honest, this is not the norm, but it has certainly been an interesting few months… We all have crazy seasons and sometimes things happen outside of our control. During these times, it’s imperative that we have developed healthy defaults in our lives that help us navigate through such crazy times. I have no idea what a crazy season looks like for you, but I know that youth ministry is full of such times. Here are four healthy defaults I implore you to maintain before you get to the crazy seasons of ministry:

1) Quiet Times. No matter how busy life can be, it’s imperative that we have times to read God’s Word, pray, and journal. I’ll be honest, this is the most challenging one for me to maintain with a newborn in my house. However, I can tell you that the last few mornings have been quite brilliant! When is the best time for you to schedule a quiet time?

2) Family Time. I have an incredible wife who values our family times and is constantly helping us keep our time together quality and quantity. I truly believe that quantity equals quality time with our wife and kids. Even if you are single and reading this post, it’s essential you develop the habit of making family time a priority now. The habits you begin today will continue tomorrow…. How often do you sit down and plan family time?

3) Recreation Time. No matter how busy it gets, it’s crucial that we find ways to disengage and fill our tank in fun ways. For me it’s mountain biking, running, playing soccer, or yard work… (I know, yard work is not fun for everyone). Finding a different focus and being intentional about scheduling these times is absolutely necessary. Even when I was in the last semester of my Masters and was snowed under with ministry and assignments, I still made time to play soccer once a week. What needs to find its way back into your schedule?

4) Planning Time. In seasons of craziness it’s easy to run from one event to another and not consider whether we are still heading in the right direction. Taking time to plan and prioritize should be a weekly or daily necessity for us. How are you planning your time? Are you ‘fire fighting’ the latest issue, or are you creating a path towards your goals?

What are your healthy defaults during the crazy times of ministry? What areas do you need to work on? 

Phil <><

photo credit: via

  • ScottTinman

    It is a crazy world for Youthworkers in the summer…but sometimes we get the wrap of…wish I had the whole summer of vacation like you do…camps, conferences, or missions trips with students = vacation…I think not! But as your family grows these summers get even crazier when you try to add in your own vacation plans, summer activities like baseball or soccer or whatever other sport…seems like it gets even crazier for me as my kids get older…good reminder to make sure we make the right priorities in our life!

  • philbell

    Scott, my kids are still quite young! I don’t know what life will look like as they get older and more involved in sports and extra curricular activities. These essentials are even more important in these crazy seasons of life and ministry…