Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Busy Youth Minister: Time Management

It seems like when you ask someone ‘how things are going’ everyone gives the same answer, ‘busy’. There is a quote that has been reeking havoc on my mind and in my heart for the last month. I tweeted and and wrote it down, but for the life of me I can not find it. The essence of the quote was, “Don’t mistake busyness for communion with God.” This simple statement has been challenging me to think through my busyness - and I would assume that each one of us is in the same place - with ‘way to much to do, not near enough time to do it.'

What Matters - I need to not only know what matters, I need to allow it to lead me. Above everything else, what really matters is the gospel of Jesus. After everything else is said and done, Jesus still stands. So my time needs to be doing gospel-intentional things. Meaning I might go to the movies, but I go to the glory of God seeking God and learning more about Him. I might take a walk, but I do this unto the glory of God, enjoying his beautiful creation. Everything we do needs to flow out of what it is that matters most. If I only have limited time to devote, I need to devote what time I have towards the things that really matter.

The core of what matters is going to look the same for each of us. Loving Jesus and others matters; teaching about Jesus matters; being in communion matters; being Jesus unto my children, wife and students matters. Although the core should look the same, there is going to be a vast difference in what matters for you and what matters for me as we start.

Making Time - There will never be enough time to do everything you want, so you are going to need to make time. This means that once you know what matters you need to make room for it. Good managers of time spend time thinking about what they will do with their time. If you don't, the time will do what it wants with you. So if I conclude that I need to take one day a month and spend it alone and dis-connected, I am going to have to make time to do this. This might mean I have to remove stuff, stuff that I might even feel is important, but if it does not matter in the grand scheme of things, then it is not where my time needs to be put.

Redeeming Time – All too often we say we don’t have time, and this is partially true, but for many we are just bad at redeeming [using] our time. If you have a 30 minute commute to and from work, don’t just drive aimlessly listening to music. No, redeem this time. Download sermons or audio books onto your iPod or put them on a CD. Have list of prayers that you can crank through. Make phone calls that need to be made (use a hands free device please). Here is a short list of things to do to redeem your time.
  • Take a book wherever you go
  • Download free audio books to listen to in-place of music
  • Download sermons to listen to
  • If you have a long trip, take someone with you (Discipleship and community in one)
  • Read in the bathroom (I know it sounds strange, but it works. Just don’t loan out the book after...)
Passing off – To be a good leader, especially if your schedule is jam-packed, you need to learn to pass things off. What I mean by this is learn the things that God has called you to do - the things He has gifted you to do, the things that you know you’re to do, and no one else is to do them. Everything else needs to be passed off. It could be said do what matters, and have others do the rest. If you are called to study and preach then don’t waste your time updating the youth group facebook page or twitter account. Pass those things off to other people.

God is Sovereign & I am not – I am a type “A” guy. I like to work and I like to work hard. Many times at the end of the day I need to remember that God is sovereign, that He is the one who must work. This does not give me licenses to be lazy and do nothing of eternal worth with my time, but it frees me to know I can give it my all, my GTD list might not be completely done, I might have emails I need to send; yet Jesus gives me freedom to rest. Knowing that His work goes on. He will minister to the students, He will speak to their hearts. Even through we should work hard, manage our time well and be ubber-productive we must remember it is God who works, not us.
Josh Cousineau is a church planter at Redemption Hill in Auburn, Maine, coordinator of the Lead Conference, and a former youth minister. This piece is reposted with permission from

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