If you, like me, have the privilege of actually getting paid a full-time salary to work with teenagers, you are in a rare category…and you are probably lazy, like me.
Full-timers: Because you work lots and lots of hours every week, you are probably really struggling with my accusation.
Part-timers and volunteers: Because you work lots and lots of hours every week ON TOP of your youth ministry role, you probably have a smug, “it’s about time…” look on your face right now.
Full-timers, indulge me for a minute.
- Do you regularly take 2 full days off each week? Volunteers and Part-timers usually don’t…they are doing youth ministry on their day off.
- Do you get paid for the week you are at Summer camp? Volunteers and Part-timers usually don’t…in fact they often have to use one of their hard-earned vacation weeks to attend camp.
- Did you take an extra day off the week following Camp? Volunteers and Part-timers probably didn’t. They were right back to grind.
- Do you ever roll into work a couple hours late the morning after a big event, or after mid-week because you “worked late”? Volunteers and Part-timers probably aren’t allowed to do that by their other boss.
- Do you ever hang out on facebook, update your fantasty football team or pin something on Pinterest on “church time?”. volunteers and Part-timers could get fired from their jobs for doing the same thing.
- Do you ever go to the dentist, go to your child’s football or soccer practice or take an extended lunch with your spouse on church time without reporting it to HR? Volunteers and Part-timers don’t have that luxury.
I could keep going. But I’ll spare the full-time youth worker community any more embarrassment! I’d be willing to bet that nobody in the full-time youth worker kingdom is “busier” than I am: I lead a team of 20 full-time staff and hundreds of volunteers that minister to thousands of teenagers each week. I serve on our executive team and my boss is Rick Warren. I am expected to give oversight and direction to the youth groups of six regional campuses and prepare for the launch of youth groups in TWELVE international campuses; each in a different country. I blog a little, create a few resources and speak here and there, too.
AND…I get paid for the week of summer camp, take an extra day off (or two) after each camp, roll into work a couple hours late after events that keep me out at night, I update my fantasy team from my office and go to the dentist and attend my son’s sporting events on company time. Benefits that my busy volunteer and part-time friends probably don’t enjoy.
Maybe I’m not “lazy”…and you probably aren’t, either. But I am fortunate, blessed, honored, privileged and overjoyed that God tapped me as one of the lucky ones. Typically I encourage youth workers to avoid the temptation to compare their lives to those around them. But today…and maybe every time you feel a little overwhelmed by your role…take a second to shift your focus from the junk of full-time youth work to the joys; from the pressures to the perks; from the busyness to the blessings.
When I focus on the junk, pressures and busyness of my ministry life I get overwhelmed and whiny.
When I focus on the joys, perks and blessings of my ministry life I want to work even harder at it.
Thoughts? Bring it on!