Search Results for: recreation

5 actions I take when I try to do “nothing”


Almost daily I get an email from a ministry leader who is tired and on the verge of burn out. There is so much about “ministry-world” that is exhausting. I understand this reality… firsthand. It’s real and ugly!

Too many leaders don’t even slow down enough to be faithful to God’s call for a Sabbath rest.

When I was a young leader I received great advice from a mentor who urged me to faithfully guard and protect a weekly day of rest. I’m so grateful for that advice and encouragement! Without intentional action, it’s simply too easy for a leader to slip into justifying non-Sabbath actions like, “I’m just going to pop into the office,” or “I’m so far behind, I just need to catch up” or “They need to spend time with me and I don’t think I can say ‘no’.”

I fully understand that the Sabbath doesn’t come in a one-size-fits-all experience, but for what it’s worth, here’s how I try to approach my day of rest:

I want to experience as many of the following as possible:

Relaxation. I take it easy. I sleep in. I don’t fill the day with a lot of activities. I try to maintain an attitude of rest throughout the day.

Recreation. I usually feel better and accelerate my rest after some form of exercise. It may be at the gym, but it’s usually a long walk or hike with my wife, Cathy.

Relationships. Any time I choose to spend time with someone on my Sabbath, I make sure it’s a relationship that inspires me, breathes into me, and is rewarding for me. No work, just friendship.

Reading. Throughout the week, much of my reading focuses on speaking or sermon preparation, so on my day of rest I usually choose light and fun reading.

Reflection/Restoration. Reflection describes my extended time with God. I’ll usually reflect on the past week, look through my calendar, and think about what I might have missed that God had laid out for me. A busy week usually doesn’t allow me the time for reflection that I want or need. Restoration describes personal soul-care. It’s my time for worship, prayer, silence, Bible, and journaling.

There is no usual order to these areas… I simply try to experience all these throughout the day.

For in six days the LORD made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and everything in them; but on the seventh day he rested. That is why the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and set it apart as holy. Exodus 20:11


Question: What about you? What do you normally do on your Sabbath? Share it here. 


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5 ways to maximize your day of rest

In 1.5 years of blogging, I don’t think I’ve taken a post I’ve written for another blog and posted it here–until today. This posted yesterday at HomeWord.com (as one of their daily devotionals) and it has created a lot of conversation with the group of leaders I’ve been meeting with and speaking to at the Orange Conference. So, I thought I’d re-post it here.

Leaders are in need of rest!

For in six days the LORD made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and everything in them; but on the seventh day He rested. That is why the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and set it apart as holy. —Exodus 20:11

It seems as though almost daily I read an email from a Christian leader who is tired and burnt out. There is so much about life that is exhausting! I know this firsthand. It’s real and it’s ugly.

Many leaders don’t even slow down enough to be faithful to God’s call for Sabbath, which simply means, to rest. I received some great advice early on from a mentor who urged me to faithfully guard and protect that day of rest. My mentor was right!

But, without intentional action, it’s simply too easy to slip into justifying non-Sabbath actions like, “I’m just going to pop into the office,” or “I’m so far behind, I just need to catch up.”

I’m afraid that many Christian leaders have little clue about what the Sabbath is or how it is observed. Certainly among Christians (in general), there are many different views and practices of the Sabbath. There’s no doubt that it can get confusing.

I understand that the Sabbath doesn’t come in a one-size-fits-all experience, but for what it’s worth, here’s how I typically approach my day. On the Sabbath day, I want to experience as many of the following as possible:

• Relaxation. I take it easy. I sleep in. I don’t fill the day with a lot of activities. I try to maintain an attitude of rest throughout the day.

• Recreation. I usually feel better and accelerate my rest after some form of exercise. It may be at the gym, but it’s usually a long walk or hike with my wife, Cathy.

• Relationships. Any time I choose to spend time with someone on my Sabbath, it is a relationship that inspires me, breathes into me, and is rewarding for me. No work, just friendship.

• Reading. For me, so much of my reading during the week focuses on speaking or sermon preparation. So, for my Sabbath, I choose light and fun reading.

• Reflection/Restoration. Reflection describes my extended time with God. I’ll usually reflect on the past week, look through my calendar, and think about what I might have missed that God had laid out for me.

There is no usual order to these areas. I just try to experience them all throughout the day.

My prayer is that the Sabbath becomes a weekly day of refreshment for you and your family, and an anticipated highlight of your week!

Question: What’s the obstacle in your life toward making this happen? I bet you’re not alone. Please share it here.



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5 reasons that I’m not too old to work with teenagers


My friends at YM360 (who also happen to help sponsor the Youth Ministry Garage) had a post yesterday titled “When is a Youth Minister Too Old to be Effective“? Apparently, it’s go more action, traffic and comments than any post they’ve ever written.


It’s an interesting discussion.

Here’s a snippet from the YM360 post:

When is a youth worker too old to be effective?

I’ve noticed something that happens to us youth workers around our mid-30′s, or so. We find ourselves unable to naturally relate to teenagers. Most of us have reached a point where we don’t automatically pick up on their references like we did in our 20′s. They mention a fad or a movie and we realize we have no idea what they’re talking about. This happens enough, and it begins to bother us.

We begin to think that means we’re too old. We hear a clock ticking inside of us. We say something like, “I’ve lost my relevance.”

There are other signs, as well . . .

The needle on our fun-meter is not as often moved by the games and the recreation. We think, “I need to move on to more adult things.”

We see our peers “advancing” to become Minister to Adults or Teaching Pastors. We say to ourselves, “I need to move on to real ministry.”

We see our friends leaving the ministry. We say to ourselves, “Is it time for me to quit playing around and get a real job?”

As an old youth worker, I’ll chime into the discussion (but it’s got to be quick because I’ll have to run to the bathroom, eat my oatmeal, and then take a nap).

1. I’ve never felt more effective in youth ministry than I do now.

2. I don’t believe teenagers care about relevance… they care about relationships.

3. Having had 3 teenagers live in my home, I know more about teens now than I ever did and can literally talk “their language” more accurate than I could when I was in my 20′s.

4. I’m closer to Jesus than I’ve ever been and I definitely have more wisdom to pass on (which was the thesis of the YM360 post).

5. I’m more patient, realistic and encouraging about spiritual growth. I better see the big-picture of sanctification than I did when I was younger and equated “program attendance” to “spiritual growth.”

Every Wednesday night my home is filled with 10th grade boys, and after sharing a meal together, we talk, read Scripture, confess our sins, and rejoice in the power of the Holy Spirit and the presence of God in our lives. It’s an unbelievable discipleship experience. Very different than how I discipled teenagers when I was in my 20′s.

I don’t know if these 10th grade guys give me respect because I “was” a full-time youth pastor for 29 years, if they endure me because I’m now a “volunteer” or if they like me because I’m “old” and they feel sorry for me (see photo above when I was the only one to wear something to “Crazy Christmas Sweater Dinner”).

I think they respect me because they know that I love them.

I don’t know all the names to their favorite songs/bands, I can’t keep up with all the new slang connected to genitalia, I’m usually the first one “out” when we play dodgeball… but, I know I’m an effective youth worker because I understand them, I know Jesus, and I depend on the Holy Spirt for everything I do when I’m with them.

When I was younger, unfortunately I think I depended more on my personality, charisma and drive.

Okay, that’s enough… now I got to go pee.

Question: When it comes to youth ministry…would you rather have young leaders or older leaders? Pros? Cons? Share your thoughts here.


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