The old saying, “You can only lead where you’ve been” is true.
Us youth pastors were once teenagers. We’ve gone through the fires of puberty and have come out as stable human beings. Since we know what its like to be a teenager, we have the ability to help our students steer the waters of uncertainty. Yet, because we can lead our students where we’ve been, we are faced with the temptation to not grow. We know what to do, so there’s no need to improve upon it.
I’ll be honest, if you’re not doing something to personally develop yourself as a believer in Jesus Christ, you’re failing in your calling. As disciples of Jesus Christ, we are called to be students for the rest of our lives. Now, how that looks like is up to you, but I’ve learned that if you want to truly grow, you need to be intentional about how you do it.
Here are three intentional ways you can develop yourself as a disciple of Jesus Christ throughout the year:
Reading the Bible, good Christian literature, blogs, listening to podcasts, sharing the Gospel, and praying are all things you can do on a daily basis to grow as a disciple. The wealth of information that is out there is mind-blowing, and there is no excuse not to be learning something new. Moreover, don’t just stay in the world of youth ministry when it comes to blogs, books, and podcasts. Be willing to dive into different waters, and even be willing to read stuff you don’t agree with.
Go on a mission trip and attend various conferences. I know many of us already go on mission trips because we take our students on them, but have you ever gone on one that isn’t about students? If you haven’t you need to, because its a world of difference and can be a game changer in your walk with Christ.
Furthermore, plan to attend a conference that is more than one day. Go to a conference that focuses on youth ministry, and then attend one that has nothing to do with youth ministry. Getting out of your comfort zone is key to personal development.
Once a year, go on a retreat. This can be one where you go by yourself, or you can do it with your spouse. We all need a time where we can stop and let God pour into us. We pour into others all year long, so the least we can do for ourselves is to take time away to allow God to refuel our tanks. If you’re not sure about where to go for a retreat, LeaderTreks offers them for youth workers. If you would like to have a retreat with your spouse, check out Weekend to Remember put on by Family Life. They offer a free registration for full-time ministers and their spouses. All you have to do is contact them.
In the end, I know this list may sound exhaustive, but the idea here is to jog your brain on how you can start growing as a disciple of Jesus Christ. Life always manages to get in the way, and that’s why it is important to be intentional about what you are doing to grow. Also, I didn’t mention it, but if you really want to do something that will stretch your faith and you can participate in every singe day, consider attending school. Speaking from experience, its like attending a never ending conference.
What are some other ways a minister can develop as a disciple of Jesus Christ?
Is there anything on the list you think is asking too much, or too little?