3D People That Feed The Soul
Being with people is important. We were not created to be alone, but rather in community.
I live in a semi-secluded area and very seldom get to sit down with other like-minded youth workers in person. However, I am very involved in online communities of youth workers. As a contributor to multiple youth ministry sites, a writer for YS, and running Stoked On Youth Ministry, I meet digitally with youth workers often. I am connected in multiple social media groups and engage via social media, messaging, and emails almost daily. Online communities are great, and technology is absolutely incredible in drawing us together and making the youth ministry community so close. But there is something missing.
Recently I attended a couple wonderful youth ministry conference led by some of the best youth workers in the world and attended by incredible people. I was already connected to many of these youth workers via social media but when I walked into the meeting room for the first time and saw them in real life, not 2D on a screen, it was SO different. First, I was shocked at what some people actually looked like, but mostly I was just generally tripped out about seeing them live in 3D. It was amazing.
Throughout the 3 day conference the programming was great, but that is not what I took away from it. My heart was full because I was able to engage in real, actual community with other youth workers who are in the trenches of youth ministry, see similar daily wins/failures, and share some of my same battle scars.
Community and relationships are essential for the health of anyone in ministry. Our jobs are not easy, and the struggles we face with students, parents, senior pastors, church politics, culture, etc. are so unique to what we do. We need to be around other people who can lift us up, encourage us, and feed our souls so we can continue on and push through the struggles we face daily. Seeing people on a screen is great and it is truly a gift, but doing what it takes to get around real, 3-dimensional people in person is such a blessing and will feed your soul.
Here are some tips for those interactions…
1. Do what it takes to find it
Finding this type of community is not always easy. It is a major struggle for me simply because of the geographical area I live in. But it is worth the effort!
- Look up networks in your area
- Attend conferences
- Prioritize it (Yes, I know you are busy, you are a youth worker after all. But you can’t afford to be too busy to forgo this type of community.)
2. Open Up
Being around others who know your struggle is amazing, but the magic of it doesn’t work unless you are able to open up, be vulnerable, and share what is actually going on in your life and ministry.
3. Allow the 2-way-street to run
Allow yourself to be ministered to! As youth workers we tend to get so focused on ministering to others that we fail to allow yourself to be ministered to by others. We need to let others minister to us while we also minister to them. Sharpening one another…it almost sounds Biblical 🙂
One of the best decisions I’ve made is to intentionally make time for authentic ministry community to happen in person. Online communities are great, I am all over them and they really do get me through so many hard times, but being with real 3D people can feed your soul in a special way. Make it happen!
TODD JONES has been in youth ministry for 10 years and has a passion for reaching lost students and training youth workers to do the same. He is the founder of STOKEDONYOUTHMINISTRY.COM, a speaker, author, and pastor. When Todd is not writing or speaking he enjoys surfing, baseball and most importantly hanging out with his awesome wife and three beautiful daughters. You can connect with Todd at STOKEDONYOUTHMINISTRY.COM, THETODDJONES.COM, or on Twitter @THETODD_JONES, or Instagram @TODD_JONES.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the YS Blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of YS.