[This is part of the Youth Ministry 101 series]
If you've ever ridden on a plane, you have heard the flight attendants explain the instructions of how to use the oxygen mask. Whenever they explain what to do if the cabin loses pressure and the oxygen masks become necessary, they always say, "Please place the bag over your own mouth and nose before assisting children or adults." They make this important statement because it is critical yet often difficult to do in an emergency situation. If you have kids with you, the likely first reaction is to protect them first, but the reality is that in order for you to protect them properly, you need to take care of yourself first.
This is not just true of protecting yourself in an airplane disaster, but it's central to your life as you lead in youth ministry. If you are going to lead students, you absolutely need to take care of yourself before you take care of them. If you're going to teach the Bible, you need to be reading the Bible. If you want to publicly lead students in the pursuit of Jesus, you need to pursuing God privately. As you go about serving students, it is easy to continually look to what you else you can do for the students, but the reality is that if we are to be effective in what we do for students, we need to first be caring for our own faith.
"Without spiritual health, you won't make it youth ministry. Don't misunderstand: you don't need the knowledge of a Bible scholar or the spiritual disciplines of a monk, but you do need a heart that's tender toward God and open to his leadings. You need to be in love with Jesus." - Doug Fields, Your First Two Years in Youth Ministry
If you desire to lead students in their relationship with Jesus, whether you are on staff doing it for a career or a volunteer serving once a week, you have to be seeking God in your own relationship with Him. How you are you pursuing God in your personal life?
Photo Credit: Miikkahoo