I am sure most of you can identify with putting together an amazing student ministry event and a significant number of students couldn't make it because they were too busy with other things. Maybe you are experiencing your numbers dwindling at youth group because of the busy epidemic. Sports, plays, school, dance, vacations, college applications, general stress. All of these contribute to the knee jerk response, or excuse for why students don't show up for things. It is so easy to get down on students for their crazy schedules and their skewed priorities. But the truth is we are just as much to blame for self-important and busy lifestyles as well. Many of us would say that community, accountability, and prayer are vital the spiritual health of students. But the same is true for us youth workers. And whenever we have opportunities for youth workers to connect with one another for community, friendship, encouragement, accountability and prayer, I am overwhelmed by the total lack of interest.
Just like our students we throw out the busy line whenever that monthly gathering rolls around. We are busy, our jobs are demanding, but the truth is we are not too busy. You know this is true because in your life you always make plenty of space for the things that are important to you. If you value something, you make it happen. It is the crux of human nature.
People Do What They Want To Do:
All of us have stated priorities and silent ones. Most people love to share their stated ones with each other. Of course we value being healthy, of course we value scripture, of course we value prayer, of course we value community. But the proof is always in the pudding. When you examine your life, your schedule, your calendar, your actions prove what you really value.
The challenge is owning what we truly value. When we can own this then we become honest people of integrity. And we also realize that we are slackers and self-important. A simple discipline would be to stop saying how busy you are. And exchange it for it is not a high enough priority for me to do it.
This little semantic trick changes everything. How did your quit time go this morning? I wasn't too busy, sleep is a higher priority. Are you coming to that students game today? I am not, because I would rather waste my time on facebook then scramble before youth group. Are you going to be joining us for our network meeting? I will not because it doesn't do anything for me.
It is true that we have hectic lives. But the truth is that we will always make space for the things we value. This is true for us and it is true of our students. I would encourage you to put your money where your mouth is and die to the lie of being too busy. Don't let your students use that excuse, and you don't either. Get to the heart of why your students don't value youth group and special events as much as other things. You will learn a lot about your students and your ministry if you can get them to be honest. It is also a priceless form of discipleship that allows us to walk in the light and not shady pleasantries.
Of all the things that youth workers do to stay healthy for the long haul, being connected to local and denominational networks always makes it to the top of the list. Instead of saying how busy you are, walk in the light. Why is connecting with other youth workers such a low value? Think of all they ways we try to convince our students that youth group is important and the strategies we help them have to make it a win for them. Now turn that argument on yourself and connecting with other youth workers.
You are not too busy, it just isn't that important to you.