I don't miss that hope filled; yet, agonizing experience a teenager feels as winter turns into spring. You know that feeling, it's the one of, "Summer is almost here, but not coming soon enough
." As a teen I longed for those warm, days away from the class building, sleeping in, relaxing and just doing nothing. Granted I had to get a job; but, it was still better than school. My mind, body and soul were screaming, "I NEED A BREAK!
With summer coming around I'm willing to bet that you are looking forward to the change in schedule. As a student ministry we've transitioned the way we've done summer. There was a time when we took a ten week break (with the exception of a work camp here and there) to going all out every week. It's a question youth ministers post on Facebook and Twitter, to see what other youth workers think, "Should I take a break this summer or keep going?"
It's a valid question; however, one we can't answer until we know why it is you need a break. When you discover the reasons as to why you need to break you will discover when it is you, your ministers, and your ministry need a break. A few of the reasons you need to break are so that you can:
- Reason #1: Maintain A Healthy Pace - Just as you don't want to overdo a workout, you don't want to be on, all the time. If this happens, you'll just find yourself frustrated and rundown when you hit the wall. In order to maintain a healthy pace, it's important to be proactive about your breaks and plan ahead.
- Reason #2: Get A New Perspective - Sometimes you are so far in the trenches that you have no clue what's really going on around of you. The ideal step out and step back in process would be a sabbatical or a break where we just step away and do nothing related to ministry. If we can take a break from the daily grind, we can refreshen our mind and approach ministry in a new light.
- Reason #3: Be Leader That Is A Learner - Just as you need to relax your body and mind, you need to take time to fuel it. When we are constantly on the go, our minds and even our creativity gets exhausted. To jump start our productive being it's good to take an educational trip, whether that's to the library, museum or go do something touristy that teaches you the history of your town, city or country. It'll be like the good ole days of school field trips.
- Reason #4: Heal And Recover - There are some injuries you can run through and others you just need to rest. If we don't take the time to heal properly, we won't heal at all. When we get rundown usually the best type of break is a retreat where you are surrounded by people who are going to pour into you.
When you know why you should break, then you'll know when you should break. Knowing the reasons behind vacations, day offs, mental breaks and sabbaticals will give you the insight you need for a healthy ministry. It's not about doing what others are doing, it's about knowing when you as the youth leader need to step back. It's about understanding when your team needs a break and when the ministry needs to rest.
So, should you break in the summer? That's a question you need to discern; however, don't make it out of pressure or guilt. When you take a break for the right reasons, you benefit from what a break really brings.
How do you determine breaks from your ministry?