Great Ideas for Summer Self-Care
By Chris Maxwell
Youth pastors know the importance of summer. School is out. Weather is nice. Time, though packed with vacations and mission trips and ball games, is a little more relaxed.
We want to inspire our students. We want them to invite their friends to the exciting summer events we’ve worked so hard to organize. We want to see growth in their spiritual lives, and in the size of our ministry.
But what about you? Will you schedule any time for self-care? Will you remember that the biggest impact on your youth will come as a result of the development of your own character?
I invite you to plan an internal growth strategy. Structure family time. Think about your own health—spiritual, physical, mental, emotional, and relational. Schedule your summer as an adventure of new development. Look for the same growth in your own life that you work so hard to see in your students.
“Look for the same growth in your own life that you work so hard to see in your students.”
Here’s a summer checklist to help you prioritize your own growth. Please feel free to print it out for your personal use throughout the summer.
☐ Read a book to guide you in deep spiritual growth.
☐ Read a book that offers suggestions on youth ministry.
☐ Read a biography of someone who made a difference in the world.
☐ Plan two days of time with God. Make time for just you and him—nothing else.
☐ Evaluate your life. Work on a six-month strategic plan for applying spiritual disciplines and falling more deeply in love with God than ever before.
☐ Visit a doctor. Follow his or her advice.
☐ Visit a counselor, mentor, or life coach. Follow his or her advice.
☐ Write 10 long, specific, sincere thank you notes to people who’ve influenced your life.
☐ Think about five songs that best describe various portions of your life. Determine why. Journal your thoughts.
☐ Ask yourself, Who is my Paul? Who is my Barnabas? Who are my Timothys? Then plan intentional time to spend with those you learn from and those you lead.
☐ Receive communion with your family.
☐ Pray in places you’ve never prayed before.
☐ Play (games, music, sports, arts, crafts) in ways you’ve never played before.
☐ Think about times you’ve cried and laughed. Journal about those experiences.
☐ Watch a podcast from a Bible teacher. Receive the teaching for your personal growth, not as a sermon to repeat to others.
☐ Listen to your students. Really listen. Write about their hurts, worries, struggles, addictions, wounds, hopes, prayers, goals. Do what you can to help. Write journal prayers to God about those areas where you can’t.
☐ Learn from what your students are saying.
☐ Select a nation other than the one you live in. Research images and facts about that country. Pray daily for the people living there.
☐ Take a prayer walk in your church community. Invite your students to walk with you.
☐ Read, pray, and study one epistle. Slowly. Deeply. Prayerfully. Regularly.
☐ List five personal goals you hope to accomplish during the summer (not for your ministry or your students—for you).
☐ Write one sentence summarizing your personal growth plan for the summer.
☐ Choose to be thankful for your gifting, your calling, your present situation, your leaders, and yes, your pain.
About the Author
The LeaderTreks Blog is proud to share the hard-earned wisdom of student ministry leaders from many different backgrounds and professions. From time to time, we will feature guest blog posts from writers other than our regular contributors. We include these posts to provide additional perspectives and insight that we’re sure will help develop you and your ministry… Read More