We got a good chunk of money last night:
Monday Night Chillout – £2,000
Rock ‘Ard – £1,000
Rock Solid – £1,334
So out of the £8,160 we applied for we received £4334 all just for a few hours of work.
Fantastic – now we get to spend it!
Having got back from New York most of the weekend was spent preparing for a preach I was doing in church on Sunday morning. I had been given the opportunity to share something from my heart about why and what we do in children’s and youth work. I am really grateful (particulaly afterwards!) when I get given an opportunity to share and hopefully inspire the wider congregation about what we do week in, week out. I also find it really helpful as it sets my heart and mind back on the central reasons as to why we do what we do.
Since then I have spent most of the time trying to catch up with work. Key things include:
Activities and material for youth groups this week
My RE lessons for tomorrow afternoon
Dealing with some admin and background issues
Dsicovering that a mouse seems to be living in my office!
Hopefully as life settles down again into a more normal pattern I can get back into the blogging.
I wanted to post this last night but I didn’t get the chance – the first time I have not posted on a weekday!
I sit on a local town-wide committee that brings various different agencies and providers who link together through youth work and puts them around a table once a month. I sit there and don’t understand all that is said, many of the bits I do understand are fairly irrelevant to my specific role and ministry. But often there are useful bits.
The last two meetings there has been some information regarding funding opportunities through Challenge 2000 and the Children’s Fund where groups of children and young people in Essex can apply for grants of up to £4,000 to panels of young people. We were sharing this with some of our youth groups last night and encouraging them to dream about some of the resources they would love to have. It is has ended up with us looking like we will put in three bids for a large amount of money all because I sat in some meetings which while not the most relevant at first are providing opportunities to quintuple my budget.
Let’s just hope we managed to get some of the money!
Recently a couple of others (Mike Lovato and Josh Treece) have blogged on burning out or coming close. I am aware how easy it is to burn the candle at both ends. Hannah and I have one car which she takes to work in Waltham Abbey. To manage the commute and get to work in plenty of time she leaves at or very soon after 6:30pm! If I want a lift because of needing to carry more stuff than I can on the back of my Dawes Horizon or because I was given a lift home the previous night from a church activity I have to be up early. But because of the nature of youth work I am often not back home till 10:00pm. That makes for a very long day which when repeated a few times a week really does begin to burn the candle at both ends.
A few factors that should also be thrown in include the fact that I like to get into work early and get stuff out of the way before the busyness of the day with people popping in and the phone ringing which doesn’t quite happen when you walk in at 11:00am. We do a lot of assemblies etc in schools which require early morning starts on top of the late nights with the youth groups.
There is a great section in This Way to Youth Ministry (pp. 136-137) adapted from Les Parrott’s, Helping the Struggling Adolescent: A Counselling Guide:
Be more than your job
Maintain stability without stagnation
Live a whole life
Learn to say “no”
Remember that you are not the Messiah
Cultivate your sense of play
Keep the Sabbath
Do not take yourself too seriously
Remember not to let your job get in the way of your calling
Never step on the scale of comparison
Recognise that even the best farmer faces seasons of slow growth
Keep coming back to where you want to end up
This is a really important issue. It is so easy to loose the plot and get too busy. We need to be really focussed on our calling and the priorities that come from that, and also the things that therefore aren’t as important. We need to be bold at saying no as well as yes and understanding, as Doug Fields always says, that every time we say yes to something extra at church etc. means less time for God, ourselves and our family because those are always the first people to loose out. For me I find it is a real challenge but incredibly important to discern what is not just a good thing to do but a God thing – what is it that He wants to be happening.
What techniques/ways/thoughts does anyone else have on how they prevent burnout and understand their priorities?
Last night saw the launch of our local children’s and youth leader training. It was a good night with just over 40 people gathering to spend time in worship and being inspired about the work they do. New Harvest Community Church youth band led worship and they were really good. I spoke on Psalm 78 and God’s vision for our work with the next generation and then Johnny Douglas, a local church leader and ex-YFC man (who also happens to have a great new blog – Soul Health: Meandering with my Maker), spoke on culture and convictions. He spoke very well after what had been a really busy day for him. His two key words were culture and convictions and he was really hot on destroying this idea that it is all about the numbers – instead emphasising that it is about the lives we invest in and how we do that. Really good stuff.
It was all recorded and hopefully should be up on a podcast in the not to distant future.
Further events planned:
* ‘What’s your aim?’ and ‘Planning a Programme’ – Saturday 25th Nov 9am – 12noon
* ‘Bridging the gap between Youth/Children and Church and Community’ and ‘The appeal of God to the middle classes’ – Saturday 20th Jan 9am – 12noon
* First Aid Training – Saturday 17th Mar 9am – 5pm (Cost £25 per person)
If you are local to Brentwood and want some training do think about coming along. Get in touch if you want more information.