5 Micro-Habits That Will Change How You Youth Work

Jeff Beckley
November 8th, 2019


Early in ministry, someone told me a rule that would transform my time management.  You ready?  If you can do something in 2 minutes or less, do it.  Put your fingers to corners of your forehead, and do the “mind blown” action.  

Seems too simple to be true.  Think about it.  You might put a reminder in your phone to call a parent to bring snacks or write a note to yourself to send out an event reminder email today.  You just wasted time writing a reminder.  Now don’t get a timer out, but if you can do the task in two minutes, just do it right then.  


Anyone who has been in ministry understands the value of informal discipleship.  The text messages to a student to help repair a broken relationship.  The encouragement you bring by showing up a teen’s game or performance.  But there are times when you need to sit down and disciple.  Times when you need to discuss spiritual growth, how to study God’s Word on your own, and healthy relationship decisions.  

For me, deep discussions don’t always happen organically.  There are times when you need to schedule consistent times with students to disciple them.  Sure, informal discipleship has value, but take the time to figure out a time in both of your schedules where a coffee shop visit and a book study can happen.


Before you call me a grandpa (which happened to be a nickname of mine in college), let me explain the value of a weekly schedule.  On my desk, I have each day planned out in roughly half hour segments.  For example, on Monday is my weekly newsletter, Tuesday is lesson planning, and Wednesday is staff meeting.  You get the picture. 

But when you get more detailed, it allows you to stay consistent.  Also on Tuesday is “Contact Young Adult” to encourage myself to stay connected to graduated students.  On Friday is “Visitor Contact” to make sure I’m connecting to a recent guest of the youth group.  Sure, I leave margin to fill in meetings, events, and appointments…but a consistent weekly schedule has been a tremendous ministry hack in the last few years.


Grandpa strikes again.  But seriously, one of my reminders every Tuesday is to find a student to encourage, a parent or ministry leader to thank, or someone to write in the church that needs prayer.  I don’t always hear back, but most of the time it provides a personal touch to ministry that an email or Snapchat message just doesn’t provide.  Take a moment each week and write a thank you note or encouragement card.  To save money, design your own cards using cardstock paper and a little creativity.  I keep a stash of my personally designed cards in my desk.  


How is this a life hack?  First, if you don’t have a prayer list, I would encourage you do start one today.  One of my biggest pet peeves of myself was when I would say “I’ll pray for you”, and there was no guarantee of that happening.  Prayer should never be a cliché!  

When you have an operating prayer list (yes, mine is written out in a 3 ring notebook), either written down or electronically, you can keep yourself accountable for dishing out prayer promises.  This way, you will actually keep your promise to pray for others.

What about you, what is your simple ministry-life hack?  What are simple things you do in ministry that may help others minister more effectively to students?

Jeff Beckley

Jeff serves as a Youth & Family Pastor in Columbus, Ohio.  He recently authored a teen and young adult devotional called Bottom Line Devotional (www.bottomlinedevotional.com). His blog www.JeffBeckley.org serves as a tool and resource for youth ministries across the globe.

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.