As you might guess, our hike to the top of Mt. Sherman was pretty physically demanding. The first part of the hike was on an old mine road so the footing was pretty good, but it was obvious within the first several yards that the elevation and the slope were going to make us work pretty hard. As the morning wore on, and the footing changed from road to trail to rocky talus, it got harder and harder to keep going.
One of the things we had to do in order to make it to the top was to keep fueling. The human body in motion is a calorie burning machine and when the calories are depleted, things break down. We break down. Stopping for a snack and a drink once in a while was the only way to keep the fuel stores up enough to keep pressing on.
If you lead a youth ministry (or really anything else) you owe it to the people you lead to keep fueling. If you are not continually feeding your spirit in Scripture and prayer, you are headed for a breakdown. You may not flame out or blow up in your ministry, but you will run down. It’s almost impossible for a ministry to thrive when the leaders are out of fuel. Thankfully, we have a great example in Jesus of what it takes to keep fueling. He often left the crowds behind to be alone with His Father. We should do the same.
As I look back and think of some of the more frustrating periods of time in my ministry, often, they came about as a result of my own emptiness. I was out of fuel. Having neglected my own soul for too long, I had little to offer in the way of care for the souls of my students. I had nothing left to share, nothing left to teach… At times, I’ve needed to do a better job of refueling. I was reminded a couple weeks ago of how important this is when, during Willow Creek’s Global Leadership Summit, Bill Hybels stated:
Everyone benefits when the leader gets better.
Are you running too close to empty? You’re not doing anyone any favors by running yourself ragged – stop it. You’re not going to honor God when you’re twitching in a pile on the side of the trail, unable to continue because you didn’t give Him the time it takes to refuel.
What are your favorite ways to refresh your soul? Share them in the comments section below and you just might help another leader get better, too.