“Drugs? Yes, I smoke marijuana”, said Jonathan (not actual name). “My brother introduced it to me. I actually like it. I don’t see anything wrong with it?” Jonathan was 12 and just about to turn 13. Jonathan’s life experiences and communication maturity was that of a 19 year old. To have “street smarts” is an understatement. He was very experienced. Due to a dysfunctional family life, Jonathan never experienced his innocence. If you minister to the youth of today, I am sure you have many related stories like Jonathans.
My wife and I had the privilege to do individual coaching and mentoring to struggling teens in our church’s youth ministry. When you minister individually to other parent’s troubled children, you are able to build a vast knowledge base of the current issues challenging teens today. You are given many opportunities to diligently pray and ask God for wisdom in how to minister to their need. You gain experience in leading them to victory in overcoming their sin. You are helping change young people’s lives!
What if you are a youth minister that has a family? Do you minister to your own children’s needs too? When you are helping change lives in the youth outside your home, are you also ministering to the lives that live within your four walls? Before answering, consider the following:
You conduct private session(s) to discover the root cause of the problem.
Do you meet individually with your children to see how they are really doing?
You Coach, mentor, and teach biblical principles of righteousness on how to overcome sin.
Do you take dedicated focused time to coach, mentor, and teach righteous biblical principles to help prevent them from falling into sin?
You create action step(s) and follow-up regularly to check progress.
Do you help create goals for moving closer to God and do periodic checks?
You pray with youth.
Do you pray often with your children?
Your calling in ministry should not bear the fruit of neglect within your family that God has blessed you with. Intentionally attending to your family’s ministry needs first, before others, builds a “kingdom” focused family. A spiritually strong family empowers you to effectively minister to others. Those experiences and teachings to others can then be brought back into your family. As you move back and forth increasingly feeding the gardens of youth and family, you will begin to create a spiritual sphere of momentum which increases in velocity. Much like an ice skater who pulls their arms in tightly to their body to spin more quickly. The force of your core circle of influence’s gravitational pull will start moving outer reaches of the church and community. However, spiritual negligence to your family will produce an out of balance ministry. Attempting to force momentum to something that is out of balance will eventually break. Many times unfortunately, it’s the family that breaks first.
What are things you have done to balance family & ministry?