Fall is officially here! While it may or may not feel like Fall in your part of the country yet, the season is known for cooler weather, leaves changing, Fall festivals, Pumpkin Spice Lattes (if you’re into that sort of thing), a return to school, and a return to Football and other Fall sports. Some of these fall staples have been canceled, and others happening in new “COVID-safe” ways. Despite the unprecedented times, the season of Fall is still about dying so that new life can spring forth. While ministry in this season often speeds off, the changing weather around us invites us to pause, to slow down, and to consider what we might let go.
Ministry during a pandemic continues to be hard, but who are we kidding, ministry during normal times is also challenging! If you weren’t already fulfilling multiple roles at your Church, you might have added Tech Support, Zoom czar, or mask-enforcer to your list. We are hearing from numerous youth ministers that during this season their plate is just too full.
Caring for others is a ministry staple, but often it comes at the expense of caring for oneself. Self care for the Youth MInister is so important. If you don’t take time for yourself and your own relationship with God, not only will you suffer, but eventually your students will too.
Jesus offered the woman at the well living water. We know we need it, but often we’re so consumed with leading our students to the well so that they can receive the living water, we forget that we need it too.
As your Fall ministry kicks off and some type of Fall Pandemic ministry sets in, be mindful of the new rhythms that you should and need to create for yourself. Here are 3 simple ideas to help get you started. These same ideas could be used and adapted for the youth in your ministry too:
- Get Outside. Not only are the leaves changing and falling to set the stage for new life to form, we’re moving into a season of mindful gratitude as we approach Thanksgiving. Take a walk outside, and depending on your context: leaves are changing, leaves are falling, leaves are already dead on the ground – notice what is around you. Be mindful of the cycle of creation. For each bright and color tree or whatever your context might be, give God thanks. Name something unique that you are thankful for at each one. Let this be a time of prayer and mindful gratitude as you acknowledge the ways that God is working in the midst of the change around you.
- Be still and listen. For 1 week, commit to starting your day with just 5 minutes in quiet reflection with God. If you can, engage in this reflection outside. Read 1 Kings 19:11-13 out loud. Then read it to yourself quietly. Take the remaining 1-2 minutes to be still. To be quiet. To rest. To be open to what God might have to say to you.
- Let Go of the Heavy Things. Lilly Lewin with Free Range Worship has created a ton of great resources for different ways to engage with God. You’ll find great ideas for your own relationship with God as well as ideas for engaging youth and their families in their spiritual life. Download this free Heavy Things prayer reflection that Lilly Lewin created. It provides a powerful way to release the heavy things in life that are weighing you down while trying to minister to others during a Pandemic. Try it out for yourself, then try it with your youth. You can follow Lilly on Instagram at @lillylewin.