This week is different than most weeks. With no school in session, many of my normal youth ministry activities are cancelled for the week. There are no ball games to watch, no school functions to attend and even my weekly youth minister’s breakfast is off this week.
Unlike summer, I’m not planning a mission trip or camp or VBS in the next few weeks. Those items are still months away from happening.
At the same time, about half my students are out of town with their families. More and more (at least in the rural communities I’ve served in), I find families taking vacations on spring and fall break rather than over the summer months. I always see a major decline in attendance this week. That makes planning an organized event– like a service project – a tough prospect since at least half my students are gone.
I find myself with an unusual abundance of time this week – a rarity in my ministry. For years, that would bug me. I always felt like I cheated my church when I had a slow week like Spring Break.
But the reality is not every week is action-packed, fast-paced or overly busy. In fact, THERE ARE SLOW PERIODS IN MINISTRY.
There, I said it.
It’s taken me a long time in my ministry career to admit and accept that fact. I like to stay busy, and I like when I have a lot on my plate to accomplish. It gives me a sense of purpose. When my plate is less full, I tend to invent work to appease my self-conscious need to stay busy and feel accomplishment.
Now, I accept that some weeks – like Spring Break – may be slower than others.
Ministry, like most jobs and professions, has ebbs and flows. My summers are extremely busy. When school starts in the fall, my schedule becomes crowded. But there are other times – like Spring Break or Christmas week – when things slow down a little. That’s natural and healthy.
It took me a while to realize that. For years, I felt there was something wrong with me or my ministry when we hit a slow spot on the calendar. Now, I relish those slow times. I know the busier times are coming and soon. It just makes sense that if there are busy times in ministry then there are less busy times in ministry too.
Accept that. Don’t try to over-program your schedule to compensate. Don’t invent work to do. Don’t take on a special project since you have the time. Don’t beat yourself up because you’re not as busy.
Accept that spring break and fall break and other such holes in your schedule are not bad, but can be beneficial to you, your ministry and your church.
Hey, everybody needs a breather once in a while.