Graphic: Carson July 27.jpg
Self-Care in Ministry: Our Spiritual Lives
While we have been discussing self-care and what we as churches can do to help our student ministry workers and leaders better embrace that concept, I want to talk directly to student ministry workers in this final installment concerning self-care. Our physical, mental and emotional lives are important, but they pale in comparison to the great need for investing in our own spiritual lives. We claim to be servants of the King, but if we aren’t growing in our knowledge and application of the Word in our lives, we will always be subpar ministers of the gospel. Our lives and ministries will lack the power needed to accomplish our God-appointed purposes. While it may not seem accurate to call this “self-care,” I can think of no better descriptor. It is something we can be encouraged to do, but ultimately, we have to do it on our own.
If you lead others in any way, it is important to make this self-care a priority. Let me share a few areas to address:
• Bible Consumption — Reading or listening to the Word must become a regular part of our daily rhythm. On the plus side, it is now easier than ever. Your phone serves as a great way to pick up the Bible anywhere. The free YouVersion App allows you to read or listen to a number of versions. The trick is simply to take the time. It may feel like work as you start but, before you know it, it will become one of the best habits in your day.
• Bible Application — I love the SOAP method of study and journaling. It gets you into the Word and focuses on how it applies to your life. SOAP stands for Scripture, Observation, Application and Prayer. If it isn’t the SOAP method, take time to find a method that works for you. Move beyond knowing what Scripture says to how it works in your life.
• Prayer — If the Bible is how God speaks to us, prayer is how we speak to God. It allows us the opportunity to express our dependence on the Father and provides an avenue in which to know Him deeper. Whether it is students or others in our lives, we cannot know them if we don’t talk to them. Prayer is how we communicate with God. Asking questions and sharing our hearts provide a greater connection with Him.
• Accountability — As we seek to shore up our spiritual lives, we must remember that God didn’t create us to live alone. We are created for community. Accountability is one of the great benefits of community. It allows others to see the direction we are headed and remind us to circle back to the Word when we go off the rails. Find one, two or a group of people to help you become the person God wants you to be.
I know there is nothing revolutionary in these four concepts. They may seem like the obvious choices. However, while they seem obvious, they are still often neglected. Let’s make spiritual self-care a priority so we can grow and minister out of the overflow.