We were graciously gifted an XM Satellite radio subscription a couple years ago, typically I am listening to ESPN radio, the DP show and occasionally “The Message.” That is, unless my kids are in the car. When they get in the car the request line is open, and the request is always, “Daddy, can we listen to Radio Disney?”
The request is pretty much always granted.
Just the other day while taking my kids on a daddy/kid date, we left our house 6:30 for our picnic. As the car started and the channel changed to Disney there was a song playing that my kids had obviously heard before, Selena Gomez “A Year Without Rain.” They grooved and moved to the beat and sang out the chorus like I may do an old Mili Vanilli Classic (I’m kidding…I promise!).
We enjoyed our time at the park munching down the pizza (thank you Little Caesars for the $5 date) and playing on the monkey bars, fishy bounce, slides and swings. Then we were back in the car by 7:20. Guess what was on Radio Disney? Yep, Selena Gomez “A Year Without Rain.”
Now I know why my kids know this song. They hear it three to five times a day even though they only have the radio on for 10 minutes.
What does this have to do with a 3-for-Thursday and/or an SMS Post?
As I have struggled to find time to post this week, I have had a number of conversations with Youth Leaders who have reminded me of some of the repetitive messages I wish I would have heard as often as my kids hear a popular song on Radio Disney. Repetition etches something into memory. Today’s “three” create a list of three things I wish I would have heard more often in my ministry yesteryears. Three messages I hope the younger generation of the Youth Leader family can not just memorize but live out.
- Have an Outside Mentor. We are called to make disciples, but keep in mind, this means you were “made” and you were made to be discipled to so that you can make disciples. After becoming a Youth Pastor (or even as volunteer youth leader) it is easy to just pour in to others. Just a few years ago (after 16 years of Youth Ministry) I finally sought out someone who would intentionally look out for me and mentor me (even at a distance). I suggest you find someone who is outside your immediate sphere, someone specifically outside of your church and perhaps even out of your ministry circles. Think about it this way; a person who commutes from the suburbs to downtown for work will turn on the radio to hear from “Chopper Dave” who identifies the traffic patterns, warns of blockage and identifies the best routes. Why not have a “Chopper Dave” in your life? Seek out a person with whom you can be completely honest and is able to identify patterns and warn of upcoming hazzards.
- Take Your Day Off! I remember one summer that I worked something like 58 days straight without a day off. I just knew that the Senior Pastor would notice the incredible work being done. I was convinced that the elders would be blown away by my work ethic and give me that much deserved raise. The reality is, it was a great summer, much was done and kids did grow a lot… but I was the only one celebrating the 58 days straight. Sr. Pastor didn’t notice. Elders were completely unaware and my pay check didn’t change at all. What scared me the most was at the end of that streak and the kick-off of our fall programming (and maintaining a crazy fall schedule) I went to the National Youth Workers Convention, took their advice and skipped a seminar or two to intentionally have down time. I had NO idea how to take down time. My mind was so accustomed to being busy, always thinking that I literally didn’t know what to do for “down time.” So, young leader (even if you’re unmarried), take time to yourself. This call is a lot easier to remember if you listened to the first piece of advice above (mentor).
- Stick to Your Primary Position/Job/Calling. This could also be titled “learn to say no.” If you need to be at the elder meeting, go. If you must be part of that committee, do it. If it is required for you to lead four different ministry teams, so be it. If you are required to preach once a month, then you better do it. However, too often, I see Youth Pastors (eh-hem, I saw myself) doing these things voluntarily. Here’s something novel, if your primary calling is to be the Youth Pastor, do that. Work well with students, staff and parents as your numbers 1-3 priorities (and these priorities should be about equal). Again, I see YP’s doing what I often did–trying to have a voice at the table, sit on that board or try to be in front of the people as much as possible– this actually leads to not being able to fulfill your primary calling. Again, sometimes these things are required (but may be something you can negotiate out of your position description).
Each of these three should certainly be better developed, I have a lot to say, but I am going to stick to my own advice here and call it a post. I have much to do and blogging is not my primary calling! However, I will try to post a few more times about these important matters, because after all, repetition could mean that others will commit it to memory! If you’re interested in talking about any of these in a comment or would like to hear more about any of these specifics, don’t hesitate to contact me!