Screen Shot 2014-02-27 at 3.05.56 PMCollege students can sometimes get a bad rap for being flakey.  Although I understand how leaders can have this perception, I’ve actually written about how this is often not the case when we look a little deeper into their search for identity and belonging (for more on that, see the following two books: Worlds Apart or College Ministry 101). But, on the other hand, college students, like all of us from time to time, can certainly get to the point where they are so over committed that they don’t follow through.

The trick is to know the difference between a flakey person and a someone who is just over committed.  It’s a critical distinction because we would approach each issue entirely differently.

Here are 5 signs that students might not be as flakey as they are just over committed:

(1) They’re actually apologetic about being late.

(2) They always seem stressed or rushed.

(3) They can never seem to remember what you talked about last time you met.

(4) They talk about what they “have” to do way more than what they “want” to do.

(5) They are usually tired.

I’ve found the following to be beneficial when working with over committed people:

  1. Be an e-brake.  Literally ask them to stop and take a deep breathe.
  2. Be a listener.  Ask them how they are really doing and don’t give advice unless they specifically ask for it.
  3. Pray for them.  After listening, just ask if you can pray for them.  Pray for peace, wisdom with time management and focus on what truly matters.

We can often encourage people more by just being present and supportive than we can by giving a bunch of unsolicited advice.

Chuck / @chuckbomar

How To Grind It Out

Chris Wesley —  February 5, 2013 — 4 Comments

There are those days in youth ministry where it feels like you are running through mud.  They are slow, there is no significant progress and the only thing moving is your blood pressure rising from the frustration you feel.  I can’t tell you when these days will come, they just seem to emerge and when they do they are awful.  So what do you do when ministry is mud?


That means having a plan that is going to help you move forward, no matter how hard it is to be creative or productive.  To develop that plan means:

Setting A Firm Schedule: A framework to your day will make sure you aren’t wearing yourself out.  That means start time and stop times.  Breaks and times when you just sit back and learn.  During the times that you schedule for writing, creating and developing you may notice little fruit; however, having the framework will make sure you aren’t dwelling too long in the frustration they might bring.

Fuel And Rest Up: Just like an athlete when the days get hard you need to make sure your energy level is at it’s highest.  That means not staying up later, eating right and taking care of your body.  Sometimes the writer’s block that you feel is because you are tired or not feeling well.  It’s at these times when it’s important for you to focus on your health and not your productivity.

Become A Learner: You could simply be out of ideas.  Taking the time you would usually write and create and devote it to reading, watching podcasts or meeting with other youth workers.  Listening to others and reading their thoughts will sometimes kickstart the productivity engine.  Just make sure anything that develops you write down.

Spend Time In Prayer: When you are in a void of ideas it’s easy to feel disconnected.  The best way to reignite this connection is to talk with God.  I find that quiet time in scripture calms me down and takes away the frustration that I may feel when it comes to a writer’s block, lack of ideas or a hard day at work.

Youth ministry is just like any industry where you’ll find moments where you just need to grind it out.  Do not stress, just go to a plan that will help you move forward.  Stay focused, put your head down and lean in.  Remember these seasons are temporary.

What would you add to the plan?

Chris Wesley (@chrisrwesley)

Youth workers, both full-time and part-time, paid and volunteers, first-year and veteran can face many of the same struggles of ministry, one of the most worrisome is burnout. Burnout is typically characterized by emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and a reduced sense of personal accomplishment. Consequences of burnout include impaired physical health, reduced job performance, negative communication with colleagues, declining professional commitment, reduced self-esteem, and poorer overall life satisfaction.

What burnout is NOT is being tired because of lack of sleep, getting frustrated at yourself or others because things did not go your way, or lack of self-control in confrontations (though all of these can feed into burnout). Youth workers face burnout through numerous avenues including inflexible work schedules, excessive control from your supervisor(s), conflict between personal and ministry needs, high expectations, and insufficient personal relationships or mentoring. In the end, we know that burnout results from the emotional demands of interacting with others and need to intentionally take time to tend to our own soul. Without a Holy Spirit within us and brothers and sisters in Christ surrounding us, we will never be able to fully meet the needs of those within the ministry we serve.

In the end, we know that burnout results from the emotional demands of interacting with others and need to intentionally take time to tend to our own soul.

In the next three days we will be looking at how to handle the stress that leads to burnout, what to do afterwards if we do suffer burnout, and how we can prevent putting ourselves in that situation. We will further address each of these this week, but here is a brief description of each of those topics:

Dealing With The Stress [read more]
Burnout begins with the demands and stress from work, home, personal goals, and sin, but ultimately it comes down to the excessive stressors. We need to know how to handle this stress by know what emotionally and physically wears you out, establish and keep strong boundaries from your work with your family and faith, and allow God to be the one who leads the ministry.

When The Flames Go Out [read more]
Burnout is our emotional and spiritual response to the excessive demands that we put on ourselves. We will look at three vital steps one must do in follow-up of burning out including taking time to stop and be with Jesus, identify what excessive stressors led to the burnout, and working with others in your organization and ministry to prevent those stressors from leading to another burnout.

Burnout Prevention [read more]
We need to take seriously the concept of burnout and take steps to prevent it. We will look at three different ways that Jesus tended to His soul from Mark 14:32-34 including the ability to recognize His troubled soul, He surrounded Himself with those He trusted, and He went to our heavenly Father in prayer.

Jeremy Smith is a 26-year old youth pastor at the Air Force Academy chapel, working for Club Beyond, and attending Denver Seminary for his Master”s of Arts in Counseling Ministries. He has been involved in Youth for Christ for eight years — check out his blog at Seventy8Productions.

Weekend Teaching Series: You Own the Weekend: Trabuco Hills HS (series premiere, week 1 of 5)
Sermon in a Sentence: Jesus brings peace to the stress of life.
Service Length: 68 minutes

Understandable Message: You Own the Weekend is all about students doing everything – and this week several students crafted a 3-part message on the event in the Bible where the wind and the waves were calmed by Jesus. The 3 parts of the talk each focused on a different part of the story, with a testimony (the first live and the second on video) breaking up the segments. The students had so much Scripture to use this weekend they even filled the back of the bulletin with lists of verses on worry and stress. Good stuff.

Element of Fun/Positive Environment: Students shot and edited several videos for the weekend – including a tremendously off-tune version of We Are the World called We are Trabuco. Painful to watch, hilarious in the a crowd. They also had the school mascots on stage, as well as a fun video shot all over their campus helping set up the big idea on stress.

Music Playlist: Salvation is Here, God is Love, Love Came Down, Salvation is Here (reprise)

Favorite Moment: You Own the Weekend’s big idea is that every student from every school gets an invitation to church. So many non-church students show up and participate in the service, it is incredible to see the turnout and get a chance to meet them. What an incredible weekend!

Up Next: You Own the Weekend: Mission Viejo HS [series premiere, week 2 of 5]