In youth ministry, there is a word that goes around called burnout. When you get so exhausted and feel that you want to quit and nearly any other job sounds better than where you, then you may be experiencing a little bit of burnout. This can be caused by many things in your ministry setting, but I want to go over 6 ways to help you avoid burnout and to last in youth ministry or ministry in general for the long haul.
Find a hobby.
A hobby lets you pursue a passion. For example, I love to help youth workers to be more effective and efficient. I do that through writing blogs and resources for youth workers to use. I also love to play video games. Video games help is a good way for me to stop thinking about what is going on and to just enjoy some entertainment. After work, it helps me to decompress and have a bit of fun before doing things around the house. Your hobby you pursue should be something you are passionate about and something you love to do whether it is ministry related or not.
Be with your mentor.
If you don’t have a mentor, find one. You need one. When you are stuck in your ministry context, they can help you to find ideas and think through processes to aid you in your decision making. They are there for you when you need to vent to someone about what all is going on in which is frustrating you. They are also a friend you get to enjoy doing life with. They lead you into doing the right thing instead of doing something stupid later.
Rest for at least a 24 hour period each week.
We all need rest. Even CEO’s of big businesses need to rest. God rested and so we should, too. I have found that having a full 24 hour rest period has been one of the most productive things for my ministry. It helps me to rest and refuel and keep my passion bucket filled. Rest is so important when it comes to ministry. If we don’t build in rest, then we are going to be consumed and not enjoy our schedules and wonder when we will finally have a free day.
Be present with your family.
Your family loves you. As the people who will always be around wherever you go, your family deserves you. They don’t deserve the leftovers. Some days at work will be harder than others, but do your best to be present. Others see how we model family life. While it is not about being a fake family to make your family model look amazing to everyone else, our family life should naturally show others who we are and inspire them through authenticity. I’ve also found that when I’m truly present with my family I enjoy life more because I am enjoying the gift God gave me that will always be there with me wherever I end up.
Go on a spiritual retreat.
A spiritual retreat is something I encourage for all church leaders. If you are able to, take a weekend and get out of town. Preferably for a weekend in the woods with no human contact. While you are on your retreat, connect to God. Try to read a book of the Bible and truly immerse yourself in it. Take a Christian book with you to read. Pray a lot. Write to Jesus. Do whatever you can to encounter God’s presence. If you can, make it a silent retreat where you open yourself to hear the voice of God and enjoy the retreat and rest he gives you before you relaunch into your next week.
Be with Jesus.
While similar to the spiritual retreat, just be with Jesus. Wherever you go pray. Whatever you buy, thank Jesus for. Whatever you are doing, thank Jesus for having the ability to do so. Do as much as you can to truly be with Jesus. Take a walk in the morning and pray to Jesus. Talk to Jesus as if He really is your friend, because He is. He loves you and He doesn’t just want you to pray, but He wants you to just talk to Him. Be in a truly authentic relationship with Jesus.
Burnout is a scary word, but we can take initial steps or shift ourselves around to avoid the burnout. I want you to live up to the calling that God has on your life and also last in youth ministry for the long haul.