NYWC Feature | Soul Care

Mike King
October 15th, 2019

Since recorded history, human beings have philosophized about what it means for a human being to live the “good life.” Perhaps the most famous ancient philosopher was Aristotle who believed that the goal, or telos of human life is to flourish. This flourishing, according to Aristotle is the result of right behavior (virtues), which results in living the good life. However, in the Greek World in which Aristotle lived, the virtuous life was a life accessible to enlightened and educated men.

Three hundred years later, Jesus Christ was born and his teaching on what it means to live the good life superseded that of Aristotle. First of all, Jesus desired the good life for all human beings, not just “enlightened” men. Secondly, Aristotle believed that all human beings wanted one thing – happiness. Jesus Christ brings something more deeply fulfilling than happiness – joyfulness. The scandalous claim of Jesus Christ, which was quite the stumbling block for not only Greeks, but also his own Jewish people, was that Christ promised through his own personhood to give life to the full to all human beings, John 10:10.

Too often we try to gain the good life through endless human effort, exhausting performance to be better and better, and trying to please everyone around us. This is only compounded in our current reality of what it means to “flourish.”

In a culture driven by innovation, technology and success, we are falsely promised that this can all happen while we become more fulfilled, time-efficient and productive. But the reality is that all of these things – innovation, technology and the metrics for measuring success – actually result in the acceleration of time, leaving us increasingly exhausted and depleted of the things that truly lead to the Good Life that Jesus promised to give us. AND YES, this is true of youth workers all over the country. I like to think Eugene Peterson had youth workers on his mind when he paraphrased Matthew 28:28-30 in the Message

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Jesus, Matthew 28:28-30, The Message

For nearly twenty years, Youth Specialties, has carved out a place in the National Youth Workers Convention for youth workers to take care of their souls, to rest and find quiet places to listen to God’s Spirit. The Sanctuary and Prayer Room have been a place of refuge and discovery. Our team of certified Spiritual Directors is there to help you listen to the Holy Spirit and your own life.

Nearly two-dozen Sanctuary sessions create space for you to sit at the feet of Jesus, like Mary did, and drink deeply of the water of life. The sessions are designed to feed your soul and provide you with ways to better sustain your life with Christ. The Sanctuary offers Morning Prayer, Midday Prayer and Evening Prayer throughout the convention. These are short prayer times that carry on the Jewish tradition that Jesus and his disciples followed and the early Church continued. Join us as we seek to be youth workers who engage in ministry out of the fullness of our life with God, in devotion to Jesus Christ and full of the Holy Spirit. Ministry out of the overflow of our life with Jesus sounds like the Good Life not only for you but also for those whom you live life with and share ministry with.


Mike King

Mike is in his 42nd year in youth ministry and serves as President/CEO of Youthfront. Youthfront provides youth ministry programs, services, resources and training. Mike has served as an Elder and a Pastor in his church in Midtown Kansas City – Jacob’s Well, and is an adjunct Professor at Nazarene Theological Seminary in Kansas City. Mike is a Senior Advisor for Museum of the Bible which opened in Washington DC in November 2017. Mike’s book Presence Centered Youth Ministry: Guiding Students into Spiritual Formation (InterVarsity Press) has received widespread critical acclaim. Mike and his wife, Vicki, live in Kansas City. They have two sons and a daughter, all happily married, and six grandchildren.

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.