Part-Time Youth Pastor, Full-Time Hero: How To Stay Spiritually Healthy When There's No Food Around

Read Your Bible I know this one is a given, but in all honestly, how often do you think minister actually take the time to allow the word of God to pour into their souls? Probably far less than you think. We are human, and we’re just as capable of not reading our bibles just like the people we serve. Having a set time to read, pray, and even journal your thoughts about God is crucial to staying spiritually healthy. If you’re not sure where to start, begin with Matthew and go from there. Read a minimum of two chapters and write notes either during or after you have finished reading. Don’t skip on this major discipline!

Read Other Books

If you stop learning, you stop growing. Reading different books keeps your creative juices going, and that’s huge if you’re in ministry. Furthermore, don’t just read books about youth ministry. Take the time to read books on preaching, theology, leadership, disciplines, worship, ethics, relationships, history, and even fiction. And if you’re bold enough, go outside the Christian genre and read what your students are reading in school. For an added bonus you just showed you’re interested in them and now have something to talk about! As a side note, I usually do my reading in conjunction with my time with God. I usually spend about 30 minutes studying God’s word and 30 minutes reading outside sources. You don’t have to do it that way, but that just helps me keep it all together!

Take Sermon Notes

Your pastor may be more pastor than preacher, and if so, than listening to their sermon can be a huge issue. Yet, you can overcome this if you take sermon notes. Sermon notes help you stay focused because you are intentionally trying to find something that applicable to your life. If you want to take it further, use social media to your advantage. Facebook or Tweet what your pastor says. Just make sure you let your pastor and your students know what you’re doing, so they don’t think you’re playing on your phone!

Listen To Sermons Online

What I love about the day in age we live in is the access we have to so many great perspectives on God. Preachers can have two audiences now: their congregation and the whole world. So if your pastor isn’t the greatest preacher in the world go find one online who is and start listening to what they have to say. As a caution, don’t compare the preaching styles of your pastor and the preacher you’re listening to online. It can create a negative attitude towards your pastor and that’s the last thing you need.

Network

Find people who are in ministry like you and meet with them. Having fellowship provides you with a fresh of breath air because you’re getting the chance to share your joys and frustrations with someone who gets it. I don’t know how many times my spirit has been renewed because of the group of guys I meet with on a monthly basis. Our faith was always meant to be done in community, don’t forget about that. Furthermore, don’t just network online, go out and actually meet someone. If you’re not sure how to do that, go check out this post I wrote for Youth Ministry Media. In the end, if you’re not spiritually healthy, you’re going to have a hard time feeding the students you are called to shepherd. Furthermore, if you’re not being feed spiritually, than the odds are your spouse isn’t either. Make sure to find out if they’re feeling the same way as you, and if so, take these tips and do them together. Pick a book in the bible, a book, or a sermon to listen to, and go through it together. You can go through it on your own and then discuss what you each learned over dinner. You will be amazed by the conversations you’ll have with each other! So now that you have your tools, its open season!      
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23 Comments

  1. Good post, Josh, and good points. Here's a question: Why do you think so many Youth Pastors have this feeling that we cant be fed in our churches? Is it honestly that there are so few adequate Sr. Pastors in the world, or do you think we just have too high of expectations because we feel we could be doing better? And thats not just for you, Josh.
    • Thanks Ben! I think more than anything, this feeling is more prevalent in small churches because of the lack of qualifications they will have for their staff. For example, in my small church, the only requirement they had for their pastor was a college degree and it didn't even state what type of degree! Which, in my opinion, greatly affected the ministry and the growth of the church. It could also be that our generation has a greater access to education, which allows us to be trained in preaching that a previous generation didn't have. And unfortunately, there is the possibility that we think we can do better. I am fortunate that I have a pastor who meets my expectations and gives me so much to glean from, inside and outside the pulpit. However, I know this isn't always the case, thus the post. But I love the question and it defiantly makes us have to look at some deeper issues!
    • I think it really comes down to pride. I think a lot of youth pastors sit there and think they could do better than the sr.pastor on a sunday morning. This is something we need to ask for forgiveness on. We have really high standards because of podcasts. It really isn't fair.
      • I completely agree. That's why I believe if you do listen to various podcasts that you don't compare your pastor's preaching to them. It can be hard not too, but if we do, it can create a serious bitterness towards them. Which will eventually lead to a broken relationship, and a lost ministry down the road.
  2. Good post, Josh, and good points. Here's a question: Why do you think so many Youth Pastors have this feeling that we cant be fed in our churches? Is it honestly that there are so few adequate Sr. Pastors in the world, or do you think we just have too high of expectations because we feel we could be doing better? And thats not just for you, Josh.
    • Thanks Ben! I think more than anything, this feeling is more prevalent in small churches because of the lack of qualifications they will have for their staff. For example, in my small church, the only requirement they had for their pastor was a college degree and it didn't even state what type of degree! Which, in my opinion, greatly affected the ministry and the growth of the church. It could also be that our generation has a greater access to education, which allows us to be trained in preaching that a previous generation didn't have. And unfortunately, there is the possibility that we think we can do better. I am fortunate that I have a pastor who meets my expectations and gives me so much to glean from, inside and outside the pulpit. However, I know this isn't always the case, thus the post. But I love the question and it defiantly makes us have to look at some deeper issues!
    • I think it really comes down to pride. I think a lot of youth pastors sit there and think they could do better than the sr.pastor on a sunday morning. This is something we need to ask for forgiveness on. We have really high standards because of podcasts. It really isn't fair.
      • I completely agree. That's why I believe if you do listen to various podcasts that you don't compare your pastor's preaching to them. It can be hard not too, but if we do, it can create a serious bitterness towards them. Which will eventually lead to a broken relationship, and a lost ministry down the road.
    • Hey Chase! I don't listen to online sermons as much as I should. I love the way my pastor preaches, so it keeps me from trying to find better preachers, however, I know I should listen to other sermons because it develops my preaching skills. But back in the day I would listen to Andy Stanley and Joshua Harris.
    • I listen to: Rick Warren Steven Furtick Judah Smith Andy Stanley Craig Groeshel David Platt Tim Keller Perry Noble Always get something from them. Im sure there is more but I cant think of it. Also, read like crazy.
    • Hey Chase! I don't listen to online sermons as much as I should. I love the way my pastor preaches, so it keeps me from trying to find better preachers, however, I know I should listen to other sermons because it develops my preaching skills. But back in the day I would listen to Andy Stanley and Joshua Harris.
    • I listen to: Rick Warren Steven Furtick Judah Smith Andy Stanley Craig Groeshel David Platt Tim Keller Perry Noble Always get something from them. Im sure there is more but I cant think of it. Also, read like crazy.

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