How you do anything is how you do everything. That statement has been floating around in my brain for a long time. At first I disagreed, then I totally agreed, then I wrestled with it more. The reason I wrestled with it is because I didn't want it to be true. I didn't want to believe that I wasn't disciplined in all areas of my life. The reality is there are certain areas of my life that I struggle with being disciplined in. The more I was honest about my life I could see patterns develop. How I do anything is how I do everything.
When it comes to being healthy in all aspects of life, discipline plays a roll. If you want to be healthy physically you need to be disciplined with exercise and with what you eat. If you want to be healthy emotionally, you need to get plenty of sleep, have a community of people who love you and that you can be honest with. If you want to be healthy mentally you need to be challenging yourself, reading, learning, creating a healthy internal dialogue, knowing your identity and what you believe. If you want to be healthy spiritually you need to be in God's word consistently, pray constantly, practice fasting, taking time to be still and silent, listen to the Holy Spirit and surround yourself with people who can encourage and challenge you to be who God wants you to be. In all of those aspects of life it takes discipline. With each area of life, you are faced with choices to make to pursue health in that area. Those choices determine how you do certain things. I believe that if you make healthy decisions with one area that will help you make a healthy decision in all areas.
I am a walking case study. My diet has always been my achilles heal, Im not unhealthy but I am definitely not the healthy physical adonis that sometimes I convince myself I am. When life is stressful I have a decision to make, Oreos (anything sugary, fatty, etc) or no. For whatever reason I find comfort in comfort foods and that has been evident as I look back over my life. I have seasons of good decision making when it comes to my physical health. There have been seasons of consistent working out, running, eating right. In those seasons I have found that most other areas of my life are operating like they should as well; I am more patient, I spend more time with God, I am emotionally in a better place, I am mentally more clear and intentional. When life gets hard, busy, or not ideal is when the rubber meets the road for me. How I do anything is how I do everything. When I am disciplined in the area that has the most control over my life, the other areas fall in line. When I am undisciplined, I am undisciplined everywhere. Sure, it has taken my 38 years to figure it out, but I have. That doesn't mean I will always have it under control but it means that I know myself a little better than I did years ago and that will inform my future!
How self aware are you? This took me being really honest with myself to get to this point. I don't like admitting my flaws because I desperately want people to think I have it all together. The truth is, I don't. Every day is a new day for tough decisions, choices that will affect other people and other aspects of my life.
How you do anything is how you do everything... change my mind!
What areas of your life influence the other areas of your life?
I have never been a huge “outdoorsy” guy or someone who desires to rock climb, scale a cliff face at Yosemite or scale Everest. That kind of activity isn’t something that gets me going! I can totally understand why people love it. I am sure there is some sense of accomplishment by the actual physical activity but the real reward is making it to the top to see how far you have come. I have been to the top of Pike’s Peak in Colorado. Why would I climb to the peak when they have a perfectly good road to the top where I can drive and save myself the time? It was incredible to look out over miles and miles of God’s creation. Down the mountain you could see the lush green valley and the city of Colorado Springs. You could also see the Rockies as the mountain range stretched over miles and miles. That moment is etched into my brain, it was awe inspiring. We have these types of moments in our faith as well and they are so important. As a student pastor these mountain top moments may look different for you than it does for your students.
1. Mountain Top moments are when you feel close to God like never before.
Mountain Top Moments make you feel like you are really in the presence of our creator and king. These are powerful and life shaping moments that I believe God uses to give us an idea of whats to come!
I remember being a high school student headed to summer camp in New York. I remember the worship, “This is the Air I breath” was my jam. I remember the speaker, not his name but what he said challenged me to the core. I remember the decisions I made that week to change how I as going about my life. It was a pivotal week in my faith journey. It was one of my first mountain top moments that I will never forget.
2. Are you giving your students the opportunity to have mountain top spiritual moments?
Are you creating times where teenagers can get away from the routine of life they are currently in and spend intentional time with our Savior. We’re talking about Summer Camps, Missions Trips, Retreats, Get Aways, Discipleship Meetings, even regular church programming. These moments are faith-shapers. Teenagers need to know that the mountain isn’t forbidden, its attainable and all are welcome.
Obviously within these moments there is a place to teach, guide and shepherd. Some students feel loss when they lose sight of that feeling and those emotions. The truth is… its ok. It’s ok to feel different and not feel the same. The feelings are not what fuel our faith, its the experience that allow us perspective and allow us self evaluate. God uses that perspective to help us make necessary changes in our lives that propel us into greater knowledge and love for Him.
3. Are you planning for the moments?
Are you looking at your calendar and planning for moments, or times where you want to lean in a little harder to what God may be trying to teach the teenagers you shepherd? Your year starts now, it starts with a plan and ends with praying like everything depends on God (because it does).
What mountain top moments are you praying for this year??
Christmas Break for Youth Ministry could be something that actually builds momentum at your church. How many times during the year do you get distraction free, school free students with nothing but time on their hands? These couple weeks are a huge opportunity for you as a youth pastor to build momentum even though you may not have consistent programming. Here are 2 areas that "COULD BE" for youth ministry over Christmas break at your church.
Relationships Can Grow
Your students have a ton of down time over the holidays and are more than likely looking for something to do. Why not invest in making your church available for your crew to come and hang out, play games, be with one another? Down time with no agenda can be life giving to you and your students. Non programmed time is great for relationships. Do you want your students to listen more during messages? Do you want them to invite their friends to Youth Group? Do you want to see them grow in their faith? I believe all of those questions stem to their relationship with you. (obviously, they will grow in their faith because of their relationship with you alone). The more they know you and your heart for them, the more they will lean in during messages. The more they know you and your heart for them, the more they will be open to inviting friends because they trust you. The more they know you and your heart for the Lord, the more they can see what that looks like for them as they get older.
Unplanned hang out time at your church
Spontaneous trips to places in town - movies, Taco Bell, Starbucks, etc
Sledding night (if you have snow)
Nerf Wars at the church
Video Game Tournaments
Open Gym - volleyball, basketball, make up new sports, etc
Star Wars Marathon (insert any collection of movies they would love to sit and watch all the way through)
Invite Families over for dinner at your place
Get creative with it but make something happen
Christmas break is great for spending relational time with your crew.
You Can Get Rest
This is an opportunity for you to recharge and rest. With a lot of down time, you have the ability to recharge the battery and get ready for the next semester of programming, trips, intentional discipleship and walking alongside families going through "stuff". You have to find what fills you back up, you have to allow yourself to get recharged, you have to allow God to continue to sustain you and be the fuel that keeps you going. Take it from someone who isn't good at Sabbath, you need it, you have to take it and it shouldn't be something you take into consideration.
Get rest this Christmas Break!
It's not to late to set something up, send out communication and let students know about opportunities to get together! It has everything to do with taking advantage of your time!
Relationships > Tasks