During the first few years of my 7 year career in Youth Ministry my husband worked part-time at a bicycle shop nearby. This gave him the freedom to help me out with overnight youth events and such. The shop experience gave us a chance to minister to some teens outside of our youth group which was pretty neat. It was also a fun topic for Joel to “bond” with the guys in the youth group. The highlight for me was having Joel and I ride our tandem bicycle down the center aisle to the front of the church during worship so I could do a special youth sermon. It was a hoot!
I still find it amazing how 2 skinny bicycle tires can hold up to a few hundred pounds and transport all that weight from A to B! However, there are times when even the tires can’t help but become shaped like a taco! Back in those days Joel saw many a sad squished bike wheel in the shop. One major part of a bike wheels strength is the multiple thin spokes crisscrossing from one side to the other. If it weren’t for those spokes the circle would squish! But working together those skinny little pieces of metal can hold a whole lot of weight.
And The Point Is?
We are each a lot like that bike tire. We need structure and support to keep us strong or else we can get taco-d too, by angry parents, grumpy teens, unsupportive congregational members, uninvolved pastors, etc. When doing youth ministry we need the support of others who understand what we do, how hard we work, a listening ear, words of advice, and a whole lot of prayer!
4 Tools 4 Youth Ministry
Our company, Prepare For Rain, is all about being supportive spokes to hard working folks! We want to help you chase your passions and impact this world in a holy way. We hope our words of support will help you:
Set healthy boundaries for yourself both at church and home
Encouragement for the tough days
Experience an at-a-girl or at-a-boy for those good days!
Discover tools for your Youth Ministry Tool Kit!
We hope to be one of your “holy spokes” of support!! If you have a topic you’d like us to address send me an a message at the bottom of this page. We will do our best to answer your questions or find someone else who can!
Learn more about an amazing power tool made just for YMs like you (by clicking here)!!
Society treats depression like a bad word, as if people who have it are broken. Heaven forbid if you make any reference to possibly suffering from it!
About 5 years ago, following way too many days of crying I realized my world was in the midst of a storm and I couldn’t deal with it on my own.
I remember the day clearly, sitting in my doctor’s office. “It’s like having this dark storm cloud hovering over my head all the time. I just can’t seem to see the sun anymore. I have anxiety attacks in the middle of the night that wake me up. I find myself sitting straight up in bed thinking to myself, ‘Oh no! I forgot to turn on the dishwasher before bed.’ I find myself in a cold sweat, shaking from head to toe, ready to go into fight or flight mode. It’s awful!”
“If I am not stressing about messing something up, during the day I feel so low and worthless I can hardly function. Going into public to run errands, I wished I was invisible. That way, I wouldn’t have to put words together and sound like a normal human being.”
This anxiety/depression combo resulted in me being a highly reactionary and impatient mother and wife. I hated myself for it, too. I wanted to be free of my own company. I loathed having to continue being me.
My doctor inquired about my relatives and mental health issues. “Well yes, dementia on dad’s side and depression–that kept the person from speaking for days at a time–on mom’s side.” The doc’s face turned to a look of, “ahaa!” on her face. She then informed me that, at no fault of mine, I was struggling with anxiety and depression. She then explained that they are like two sides of a coin and something that can be passed down genetically. She clarified, ”You have done nothing wrong, there is just a slight imbalance in your brain chemistry.”
In my situation a mild anti-depressant for a period of time was all I needed to see the sun again. I rediscovered my enthusiasm and passion for music plus the guts I needed to get in front of people again.
Now, of course, everyone is different. Sometimes the chemistry in your brain needs balancing out permanently. Again, you didn’t do anything wrong. Getting your brain chemistry balanced just helps the true you shine through!
My world is not perfect now, my anxiety pops up occasionally and I am aware when clouds are threatening to cover my blue sky again. Once in a great while my anxiety will get the best of me and a few thoughtless words will pour out of my mouth, like Harry Potter when he tried to smile at Cho with a mouth full of pumpkin juice.
I am always striving to do better at apologizing as soon as possible and then just moving forward instead of caring my mistakes on my back like a cross I must forever bear. We all screw up. We are human. Forgiveness is not just something we are to give to others. It’s something we need to give to ourselves.
What about you? Do you, or someone you know, deal with depression? Are there tools you’ve heard about, or discovered, that are helpful?
Add to the conversation. We’ll be glad you did. Check out this song for a little encouragement. For deeper resources (books, magazines, support groups), check these out.
Recently I saw a young man riding his bicycle down a busy arterial. Since the town I live in is consistently rated one of the “Best Places To Live In The Outdoors” this is not unusual. Lots of people ride. Unfortunately, it was also not unusual that he was riding without a helmet. Freedom of choice is great until those people inevitably crash, frequently sustaining major head trauma. It’s not like falling over while walking, but that truth seems to not matter when weighed in the balance of freedom. Even freedom to be stupid.
And Then There’s More…
This young man–who looked to be in his late 20s–doubled down on stupid. He was riding with no hands. This too, sadly, isn’t unusual. Sure, a moving bicycle is sort of like a gyroscope and “wants” to stay upright as long as its moving. It’s just that no one tells this to the rocks and other junk sitting in the roadways of the world.
What made this intrepid outdoorsman stand out from all others was that his hands, and especially his thumbs, were busy texting on his “smart phone.” Deathwish by technology.
So, he’s totally doomed…at some point. There will be a rock or some other impediment to his bike’s forward motion. The bike will be deflected from its path. And he will go down, his hands providing nothing since they’ll clutch his smarter-than-he-is phone all the way into the pavement. Or tree. Or car.
Questions I wish I could ask this guy:
Is this text so urgent you can’t stop and get off your bike?
Are you willing to subsidize my life like you are asking everyone else to subsidize yours after you crash?
Did you know your smart phone is, well, a phone…from which you can make calls?
Have you considered that texting while driving is banned all over the place because people get killed…by the one texting?
What would be the worst that could happen if you just waited to talk to the person you’re texting?
What would be the best?
Sometimes, freedom is overrated.
Engage here. What’s your peeve? Is there a point at which someone’s freedom becomes a problem for others? Is there a texter in your life that needs a wee bit of truth gently fanned into their face?
Is Church Leadership Really Like Watching Sausage Being Made?
Recently, I heard it said, a bit jokingly, that there are two things a person shouldn’t see:
Sausage being made
Church leadership in action
Having seen my fill of church leadership in action, both as a full-time staff member and a deeply involved volunteer, I can tell you that there is some truth to the metaphorical warning. Like any institution that involves multiple people in a decision making process, the very process can be laborious and messy. Points of view, positions and even feelings can get ground up and extruded out, while the goal is that something palatable and useful is being made in that process.
I can also assert that more than a few times I felt as if I was the sausage. Or at least the raw material from which the sausage was squeezed from. Very little seemed “sacred” within the discussion and implementation of the leadership of the church. Indeed, it seemed no better than the poorest of secular behaviors.
But Must It Be Like This?
Here’s the thing: why is it acceptable for the church to behave in the same way as the secular? Indeed, is it so commonplace that it’s to be joked about?
Sausage, by its very nature, has a predictable sameness to it. Precise widths. Uniform lengths. Consistency of texture and taste. One link just like the next. Like little soldiers. After having been crushed, mangled and ground.
Is this what we really want from our church leaders’ experience? Numbing repetition? Commitment to “the way it’s always been done?” Creativity crushed? Acceptance of poor behavior amongst leaders?
A New Metaphor
If, in fact, the actions of the leadership of any church can be compared in any way to the making of sausage, then something is completely out of whack. While this may be commonplace among the secular (and I’m not convinced that’s true), it is not acceptable within a Christian community. It’s nothing more than a glaring symptom of disease, a heartbreaking lack of vision, capitulation and a full embrace of the world’s mediocrity.
1 Corinthians 1:10I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought.
Does that sound like sausage making and something to avoid watching?
Engage here. Do you believe that church leaders are called to something higher than sausage creation? Is there someone you know that may need to consider this paradigm shift in metaphors…and behavior?