Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Why I stopped blogging: Reflections from the last few months of ministry

Yes, it has been a few month's sense my last blog. 
Those who write for a living (or want to) may perhaps think of this break as a career killer or at least a starting over.  I am sure there is some truth to this, but I have a reason for not writing (insert your favorite homework excuse(s) here)--I have placed my energy and time elsewhere.

I have placed my energy and time with the people in my context of ministry.  Missions trips, camps, classes, sermons, counseling, coaching, talking, laughing, crying, mentoring and walking with people through all the ups and downs of life has taken up a large portion of my day(s).  Without detail, it has been a particularly heavy season of ministry and my time and energy have been placed with the flock the Lord has entrusted me to minister with and to.  I can say, it has been and continues to be an honor, blessing and joy to minister in this challenging season.   So, when faced with giving my attention to a blog for the masses or the life of a student, parent or adult in my ministry, I chose the people in my immediate context.  Why am I sharing this?  I have been reminded of an important student ministry concept that I have taught and attempted to live by (maybe in my 40's I am finally getting it)  for many years now--People over Programs!  If you place people above your personal and even church programs, you and your ministry will be blessed.  So, if you have been in student ministry for a while and need a reminder or just entered our corp, always place ministry to people as first priority.  It is so simple and makes sense, but easy to forget in the "busyness" of programming.

I have placed my energy and time with my family.  When going through "heavy seasons" of ministry, it is crucial that you find energy and time for your spouse and kids (BTW: if you are single, you still need to give the same attention to your "family" of close friends).  Time spent with family restores your own giving source and let's your family know they are and will always be your first ministry priority.  So, when faced with the decision of taking the energy and time to blog or running to McDonald's with the wife and kids, family wins.  Again, why share?  I have had to say to myself, on more than one occasion, this simple yet powerful phrase that helps me take needed breaks on those "still a lot left to do" days in ministry, live life for the people who will be around your bed when you die. The phrase is derived from a combination of scripture and church father sources and comes in handy when needing to pull away and rest a bit.  Student minister, there is never an end to ministry activity--always something to do.  That is the excitement and the curse, if not managed, of our calling to work with students and families.  So, consider often those who will be around your bed when you die, it is a rather small, but important list of people.

I have placed my energy and time with my Lord and resting.  You would think this is a given, but it is a principle of balance often overlooked by busy minister's.  In short, if the Lord needed time away from people and alone with His Father, why should we be any different?  Oh, remember when Elijah was running for his life from Jezebel?  When he ran to the Mountain of the Lord, one of the first things he was told to do was rest.

So, these are my excuses.  I don't mind taking a late grade for my work on this blog--it was worth it.

QUESTION:  What do you do to remain balanced and "full" during particularly heavy seasons of ministry?