Youth Work The Conference

Hi there,


my feet haven’t touched the ground since returning from Youth Work the Conference (14th- 16th November 2014). Being thrown straight back into work has made it difficult to work through and apply the talks and seminars that I attended so I think its about time that I sat down and processed everything I learnt.

Firstly, if you ever have the chance to attend this conference, take it. It’s an opportunity not to be missed, it provided me with some much needed spiritual food and good godly company, two of the greatest things that can get neglected when you’re busy in ministry.

There was so much information to absorb it isn’t humanly possible to remember it all. Most of it is forgotten by now but I will always hold onto some inspirational and challenging things that were said. Sometimes a few words carry more weight that a sermon. So I will share with you my favourite quote from the keynote speakers. I hope you too can digest this and, more importantly, do something with it.


1. We don’t always see the output of our input- Tamsin Evans.


2. There’s no magic formula, we already have the medicine- Andy Croft.


3. In the end it’s all about Jesus. And if it’s not about Jesus it’s a waste of space- Justin Welby.


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How to Stay Sane in Youth Ministry

How To Stay Sane in Youth Ministry (Making Time for Yourself):
When I was training to become a Youth Worker through CYM someone rather foolishly told me that unless I spent as much time as humanly possible with my young people I didn’t love them. It took me a few months to shake this off and realise that the amount of time I spend with my young people doesn’t equate to how much I love and care for them.
Please don’t misunderstand me, I’m not saying let’s sit back, relax, and ignore pastoral issues and precious chances to spend with those God has placed in our care. I’m saying that unless we take time for ourselves we’re going to hit the wall, and hit it hard. Some Youth Workers put a ridiculous amount of pressure on themselves to perform 24/7, when what they really need to do is be a bit more ‘selfish’ and take time out.
I’m speaking from experience, I’ve already had to take three months off work after a case of glandular fever (coupled with stress at work) which left me burnt out and angry because I had been pushed to breaking point.
So here’s a quick guide, 5 things that will help you stay sane in youth ministry, instead of having to use sick leave to de-stress and sleep.
1. Have a designated day off- now I know this isn’t always possible, so if it isn’t make sure that the first thing you do when you say ‘yes’ to something on your day off, clear your diary of work commitments on another day. Or, if there’s a busy season in Church make sure that you take time off in lieu as soon as you can. Either way, make sure the young people, and whoever else needs to know, are aware of when your day off is. You deserve a day off just like everyone else. And don’t read or replay to messages that aren’t an emergency, they can wait until you return to the office. Set boundaries for yourself before other people start infringing on them.
2. Have a slower pace of life- on your day off, slow things down. This may not work as well for extroverts who get a buzz of being busy so do tailor this to your own needs. BUT recognise that everyone needs some down time. This is what  I do on my day off, I walk or cycle as much as I can instead of jumping in the car. Why? Because I have the time to not rush around. Maybe this would work for you. Cook from scratch instead of wolfing down junk food.  Take a walk, not to go anywhere, but just to get some fresh air. Read a book from cover to cover, instead of skim reading an article or two for work.
3. Pen in a Sabbath rest- I see this as being different from your day off. Set aside time to spend with God, with no distractions. Sabbath rests take many different shapes.  You could follow a Bible reading plan, download a sermon and go for a run, meet up with a friend for coffee and a Bible study, climb a mountain, go on a prayer walk, or keep a journal.  Sabbath rests aren’t about sitting there and doing nothing, they’re about doing something.  Spending time with God isn’t something to be sniffed at, or squeezed into a box.
4. Ignore expectations- when you’re sick, you’re sick.  Don’t feel guilty for not being at work, and don’t go back before you’re ready. I had pharyngitis last week and after taking several days off I went back to work, not because I was ready, but because I felt I had to. There were too many youth events, meetings, and services coming up that I thought I couldn’t miss. But something I need to keep telling myself is that I’m not indispensable. Panshanger Church will keep running and the world will keep spinning if Connie Barrett takes another couple of days to recover.
5. When you need to sleep, sleep- A couple of years ago I went on a retreat along with my classmates. I arrived drained and unimpressed with the prospect of two full days spent reading the Bible and praying. But the Minister who was leading the course started off by saying that if we were worn out spiritually and physically we needed to go to bed.  Bible reading and prayer could wait. At least half of our class went to bed. So, if you need to sleep, sleep. Don’t try and squeeze too much into your day, call it a night and come back to things after a good nights sleep.
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