2. We will give space for reflection and rest

  • We believe that taking regular time away helps maintain our youth leader’s passion and energy for his or her work with young people.
  • We promise to require our youth leader to take appropriate and regular breaks from volunteer ministry for personal refreshment and reflection.

What is the role of the youth leader?

It might seem basic, but how you answer that question will make all the difference in the world to how you think they should spend their time.

If the focus is running youth meetings and organising events, then you’ll expect them to spend their time doing just that.

But if you see their role as being a role model to young people, discipling and helping them grow in character and faith, then who they are will matter just as much as what they do.

The truth is that good youth leaders are mentors and role models, not just organisers of events and crazy games. This means that taking time to seek God about the vision and direction of their ministries isn’t incidental to their work. It’s indispensable.

Of course, youth leaders can struggle to do that, just like the rest of us. It’s hard to put aside time for quiet and reflection in the midst of event planning and relationship building with students.

However, throughout the Gospels we see that Jesus, the Son of God, constantly made it a priority to take time away from the busyness of ministry to pray and seek the Father. How much more so should those in forms of spiritual leadership with young people? The best thing your teenagers can find in a youth leader is someone who’s following God with all their heart.

Sometimes churches, perhaps without realising, can quickly allow a youth leader’s personal life to disappear into the busyness of volunteer ministry with evening meetings, weekend activities, catch ups with young people, other church-related events and services, etc. Sometimes the youth leader may be guilty of filling their calendar by adding extra activities themselves! Overworked volunteers, however, who have lost their sense of life balance, are prone to burnout.

If your youth leader is free to take appropriate time away from the tasks of youth ministry for personal rest, this will contribute to the longevity and fruitfulness of the youth ministry.

Questions to consider

  • How do you actively encourage and challenge your youth leader to take time for reflection and rest?
  • What money do you have in the budget to sponsor any retreats or spiritual activities for just your youth leader?
  • How does your church have the capacity to allow your youth leader to take a break?

Ideas to help you meet this promise

  • Send your youth leader on a silent retreat at a local monastery or retreat center in your area.
  • Involve your youth leader in planning the church yearly calendar, taking into account their holiday plans.
  • Encourage your youth leader to delegate leadership responsibilities to other volunteers when they need a break.

What your church needs to do

  • The church needs to plan to take two actions in the coming year related to this promise. Those actions do not necessarily need to be the suggestions made above. They can also include things that the church has already done previously and is planning to continue to do in the coming year.