Heroes Take Care of Themselves
I love youth workers. Among our tribe are some of the most dedicated and involved servants in the local church. A typical volunteer is a full-time parent, an employee, a teacher to her own children, a teacher to her youth group, in a small group of adults, a coach, a cheerleader, a driver, a party-planner, the family’s chief encourager, and on top of all of that — a minister to students and their parents. What’s so exciting about youth workers is that you do all of these things and you don’t even think twice about it. You hardly notice that you are the only 29-year-old going to a freshmen soccer game. You don’t care that your peers sneer when you practice Halo 3 on your day off so your small group of guys isn’t embarrassed by you at the sleepover. Your obsession with the Jonas Brothers makes complete sense when your life is intertwined with those of 7th grade girls. You don’t even complain about giving up your vacation time to go on retreats and mission trips with kids who don’t shower. Youth workers are heroes — plain and simple. Even heroes need to take care of themselves. Superman goes to the Fortress of Solitude. Batman runs Wayne Industries. Spiderman goes and hangs upside down and makes out with Kirsten Dunst. Mike Rowe does voice overs for The Deadliest Catch. Unless your name is Chuck Norris you need to take a break! You are a hero — if you want to be a hero for a long time you need to take care of your self. One interesting phenomenon at the National Youth Workers Convention is watching who does and does not take advantage of our soul care areas. We provide convention pastors, a labyrinth, a sanctuary, a prayer room, people to introduce you to spiritual disciplines — even a place to catch a nap. The crazy thing about these areas is how many people completely miss them, even never realize the options are there. The flip side is, I also talk to people who barely make it out of those areas during convention. My observation of those two groups? Newer youth workers, in larger percentage, miss this stuff while those who have been in ministry for a long time take advantage of it. Likewise, outside of the NYWC I’ve noticed that the youth ministry leaders to whom I look up, the ones who have been at it for a long time, are the folks who regularly make time to care for themselves. There are two kinds of self-care youth workers need to practice. I’m not going to give you specifics on how to do them because you’re heroes… you already know how (or how to find out)! * Take care of your body. * Take care of your soul. You are a hero. It’s time you take care of yourself to take your hero-ness to the next decade and beyond. This article orginally appeared at Youth Ministry Exchange.
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