I copied this from Doug Fields’ blog at http://www.dougfields.com. It is a great word for everyone. It starts out directed at people in the ministry, but I think these words apply to everyone. Just replace the word “ministry” with “job” or “calling”. The content starts here…
When you say yes to ministry, you also say yes to periods of discouragement. Here are some harsh realities:
• Discouragement is painful.
• Discouragement is untimely.
• Discouragement is lonely.
Be confident that you’re not alone in your hurt (see yesterday’s comments).
Here are 10 ways that you might battle the occasional seasons of discouragement:
1. Find an experienced, but neutral, mentor who will listen to you. My encouragement is to make sure this person is outside your church so your conversation isn’t divisive.
2. Seek to spend time with an upbeat friend who is outside of your youth ministry. The benefit of an upbeat friend is that being with a friend who doesn’t really care about your ministry, but cares about you, can be very refreshing.
3. Realize that not everyone will understand you and your ministry. Actually, it’s fairly safe to state that no one will value your ministry as much as you. Perspective can be insightful.
4. Take a day off. A real day off…a day off of email, a day away from the ministry, a day of rest.
5. Schedule solo time away. Once a quarter take an entire day with your journal and Bible and get away. Solitude can really help.
6. Clear the piles on your desk. Piles can be depressing! Shove everything into a box and deal with it later. A clean desk can make a difference in your attitude.
7. Get some sleep. Even if you don’t think you need more sleep, get some any way.
8. Start in a discouragement journal. Write your thoughts out. Write out the discouragement journey from A-Z. It’s amazing when you look back and see God taking you thru a discouraging season and it will happen again.
9. Begin an affirmation file. Save the “keepers”… read them when necessary. Being reminded that you’re not hated and/or a loser can help.
10. Pray! You’re not the first leader to bend the ear of God.
Thankfully there is hope in the midst of discouragement, and because the God of the universe is involved, it’s plentiful. Light is out there for the discouraged.
Don’t loose sight of the eternal Light in the midst of the temporary darkness. When discouragement hits you, count on the reality that God will use that season in your life to increase your ministry effectiveness (God doesn’t waste a hurt).
There’s my 10 ideas…please add to the list! Next week I’ll post all your ideas from yesterday and today. I’m anxious to learn from your ideas!
These are such great steps that everyone should follow. I think numbers 1, 2, 4, 6, and 7 are huge in my life. Without doing these things every once in a while I would be so lost.
Here are some quotes from the breakout session on Youth Discipleship by Doug Fields.
“Discipleship is not a short term process.”
“We (youth leaders) do the possible and have faith that God will do the impossible.”
“A youth pastor’s job is not just to lead students, but to lead parents and other leaders as well.”
“Disappointment opens the door to spiritual growth.”
“People (kids) don’t remember your messages, they remember you. Lead by example.”
“If leaders (messages) are not repetitive they are not effective.”
“Don’t just give the kids a Bible… Give them resources.”
This weekend I started going through a lesson plan with the 5th graders at Radiant Life. Billy Graham Ministries based a study around Daniel and geared it towards students. Its to better equip them to share the Gospel and stand firm in their beliefs just as Daniel did in the Bible. I don’t think students are the only people who can learn from this study.
I learn most effectively through teaching. As I prepare myself to teach I always learn more and grow deeper. So as I walk through this with the 5th graders I am going to walk through it on here for myself.
When Daniel is introduced in the Bible he is a pre-teen. He has been chosen by the Babylonians as one of the best and brightest youth. They take him and the other chosen youth and begin brainwashing them and forming them into the perfect Babylonian.
Daniel 1:3-5 Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, chief of his court officials, to bring into the king’s service some of the Israelites from the royal family and the nobility— 4 young men without any physical defect, handsome, showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well informed, quick to understand, and qualified to serve in the king’s palace. He was to teach them the language and literature of the Babylonians. 5 The king assigned them a daily amount of food and wine from the king’s table. They were to be trained for three years, and after that they were to enter the king’s service.
The King even changed their names, which in those times was a common practice when someone was “born again”.
Daniel 1:8 But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way.
Daniel chose to stand strong in his beliefs. The Babylonians worshiped their king and many gods, but Daniel had been raised to believe in the God of the Bible, the Hebrew God, Yahweh. He also was raised to respect himself and his body.
Daniel was able to stand firm in his beliefs even when the king and the Babylonian world were trying to tell him otherwise. He was able to do this because of his strong foundation in God and the scriptures. This is why we study the Bible and why we memorize scripture. So that we can stand up against the false teachings of the world and defend ourselves with the Word of God.
John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
This is the first verse in equipping anyone to share the Gospel. It is our first memory verse in D2BD. This is our first step in being able to stand up against the false teachings of the world and spread the love of God. This is where it begins…