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On Laundry and YthMin

Youth ministry is kind of like doing laundry; you're never "done" with it.

piled up laundry basketMost days, people wear clothes. And this creates an endless cycle of dirty clothes that then need to be washed.

It's much the same in youth ministry. There's always more to be done. You could spend a few more minutes working on prepping a lesson. You could make another phone call, write another note, go to one more game or dance recital. You could even attend one more meeting.

So, I'm thinking that the "work" of youth ministry isn't about getting it done, because you never get it done. Rather, it's about defining the tasks that are important/priorities and then honing and refining the processes by which you go about the work.

Some thoughts from the laundry analogy:

  • When you're not washing clothes, don't stress about what's sitting in the dirty clothes hamper. You'll wash it when you wash it. (take time off)
  • But don't let it pile up. That mountain of dirty clothes is more intimidating than it should be. And I hate having to scrounge around looking for clean socks. (work when you need to work)
  • Spot-treat what needs it as it comes up (crisis management), but then actually wash a load of similar stuff at one time. (block-out time, batch tasks)
  • Use fabric softener. (bathe your work in prayer)
  • When folding, just take it one piece at a time. (b/c you can only do one thing at a time)
  • Don't stress trying to have it "over and done with." (life keeps happening, and, therefore, so does the work of ministry)
  • And don't get overwhelmed with "you mean there's more?!?" (remember it's about the process)

The question isn't "What do we do?" in the sense of looking for activity. The task is to zoom out often enough to see the bigger picture of values and direction to keep in touch with that. And then to zoom back in to the hands-on work of individual tasks to do what's important in the best ways possible.

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