Great post on Are you healthy? – A 10 point plan for youth leaders over at the Insight blog. I saved it in my favourites ages ago, and recently come across it again. It challenged me on a couple of areas:
2. STAY PHYSICALLY FIT.
I don’t go to a gym or jog so I guess I’m laying myself open to some comment here, but you’re stuck with your body, so look after it. We all know investing in exercise and healthy eating can produce real results in extra energy, increased mobility and even a longer life. A good night’s sleep is also important, but how often do we consider our regular routine? This is a really important issue to consider when we think about longevity in ministry. OK, this is starting to sound like a health blog – but don’t burnout in your 20’s because you didn’t stay spiritually and physically fit. You’ll be a much more effective youth worker when you’re 40!
Having had a car full-time this academic year my exercise has dropped right down. I’ve hardly ever got the bicycle out because it is always the harder option. I want to look again at my habits, and as I move down to Tonbridge, I will be selling the car and getting back on the bike, and hopefully losing the belly I’ve gained!
5. MAINTAIN A POSITIVE ATTITUDE.
Someone said, ‘Attitude is everything.’ We should all expect our share of struggles and disappointments in youth ministry. I’ve lost count, but I keep going because I know Jesus changes lives and my small contribution has significance and eternal value. When the going gets tough, take time to remind yourself of God’s call. Draw strength from it. Commit your situation to prayer. Be confident that the One who called you will give you everything you need.
If you ask Hannah ymy wife, I’m sure she would say one of my worst habits is that I pick up on the negative. I spot things that need improving but don’t always move on from there, and can get frustrated with that. I want to remember to keep things in perspective, to be Mr Happy!
7. LIVE IN THE REAL WORLD.
It’s all too easy to get so caught up in ‘church stuff’ that we lose our perspective and connection with what’s happening around us. Find ways to stay connected with people outside the Christian faith and discover more about the world they live in. Consider taking up a hobby (bungee jumping?) that brings you in contact with people outside your immediate circle. Read books that have nothing to do with youth ministry and can’t be used as illustrations in your next talk!
Doing a ministry role makes it easy to be working bizarre hours, which makes it harder to hang out with other people. It is something I am determined to work harder at, to ensure that as we move to Tonbridge I will search out those one or two people who share my passion for West Wing, or gentle cycle rides, or watching sport etc.
How about you, how can you improve your health?