It is that time of year. The most dreaded time of year, Spring! While the weather is great, and baseball season is upon us, the lives of our students are beginning to disengage from the programmatic rhythms of youth group. They call it senioritis, but I am still confused how a sophomore has senioritis. The truth is that our low stamina students are checking out of this school year. With all of the ways that students were dialed in to their many activities early in the school year, now only one or two hold their interest. In the case of my students that includes a spring sport and a love interest.
The truth is that there are actually ton of reasons that students begin to disengage during spring semester; some good, some dumb, but no matter why, the what is real and how we cope with it matters.
For those of us who make our livings on developing environments and programs for students to build faith and community, this season can often be pretty difficult for the soul. And if you at all resonate with this trying rhythm, I have some good news for you: IT IS OK :)
That's right. This cyclical rhythm of ministry is exactly that, cyclical. This means that this is not unique or new, or how it is going to be forever. So there is no need to freak out. What it does mean is that this is the season for you to embrace some new rhythms of ministry as well.
Why should our students have all the freedom to check out and explore new parts of their lives. Why don't we do the same. All of the time and energy that you have put into programs and environments have been great and well worth it, but now it is time to take those hours and invest them in some new rhythms.
When you are no longer getting the same bang for your buck with your hourly investments, might I suggest some new things to invest your time into for the sake of your soul:
- Find a hobby (Include a kid and it counts as work)
- Be outside (There is no need for you to be in your office so much, so don't. Enjoy all that Spring has to offer)
- Read (There are some incredible books out there. Explore theology, leadership development, spirituality)
- Dream (God still has big plans for you and for the ministry you lead, ask Him about it)
- Write (What better way to process all that is going on in your heart?)
- Get back to contact work (Remember that? The time when you would grab some students and hang out?)
- Enjoy spring sports with your students (Baseball, Lacrosse, Soccer, Track, Swimming, Chess)
I am not saying don't do a good job, just simply to do your job differently in this season. The time for programmatic excellence is in the fall. And the time for personal reflection, contact work, and professional development is for the spring. And how cool that the time for our personal growth happens to be the most beautiful time of year!
How amazing that spring, the season of new life and rebirth can also be that for our soul and our call to ministry. May we all embrace the changing season of the year and have our rhythms of life and ministry reflect this reality.
This is how I cope in this season of programmatic malaise. What do you do?