Most things are better when they are in rhythm. This is true for music and dancing, and it’s just as true for life and youth ministry! You see, the truth is that everything in life has a rhythm, and finding the right rhythm is a requirement for success and satisfaction.
When your ministry is in rhythm, everything seems to work right. It sounds good, looks good, and feels good! On the other hand, ministry looks and feels more like a train wreck when it’s out of rhythm.
When it comes to effective ministry, rhythm matters. Every successful ministry has it, and those that sustain success over time are the ministries that have kept it. Finding the right rhythm is key to success and fulfillment in your ministry.
A ministry that lacks rhythm will feel forced and mechanical, while a ministry that’s out of rhythm will just feel a little off. However, a ministry that has found a healthy rhythm will feel just right! Doing ministry in the right rhythm is like living in a ministry goldilocks zone, and it feels a lot like how we imagined it when God first called us to it.
In over a decade of youth ministry, I've experienced both the pain of being out of rhythm and the exhilaration of doing ministry with it. Finding a healthy rhythm changed everything for me, even though it feels like a real life game of red light, green light. I’ve found three beats to a successful ministry rhythm for myself that I want to share with you, and my prayer is that they will help you find rhythm in your context as well.
Beat #1: GREEN LIGHT
Run hard and fast after goals. This is the part of the ministry rhythm where we are relentless about going after our goals and God given dreams. There is a time to lead under a green light and go fast, and this is it!
I’ve found that talking about goals in ministry makes some leaders uncomfortable because it feels too much like business. This shouldn’t be the case though. Goals are simply dreams with plans and deadlines attached. God is the dream giver and has given us all dreams in our hearts. Great leaders know there is a time to go ambitiously after these goals.
That’s exactly what this beat of the rhythm is: a time to go fast and and hard after your dreams and desires for your ministry. The green light beat of the ministry rhythm is all about a furious pursuit of the what. What is God calling you to do? What dreams has He placed in your heart to run hard after.
Beat #2: YELLOW LIGHT
Walk slowly through the crowd. This is the part of the ministry rhythm where we slow down from the hustle to focus on the people. It’s a time to shift our focus from what we are doing to who we are serving.
It’s all too easy to get busy doing ministry for God and forget the people we are ministering to. The yellow light beat is all about taking time to slow down and be intentional about the who. This is the beat of the rhythm that resets our focus on people. How much time are spending walking slowly through the crowd?
Beat #3: RED LIGHT
Rest religiously. This is the part of the ministry rhythm where we stop. It’s where we rest. It’s where we sabbath. This is vital, because if we don’t take the time to stop, ministry will eventually stop us! Ministry workers and pastors who skip this beat will end up being spit out and burnt out by the ministry machine.
Whether it’s your day off, regular vacations, sabbaticals, or an off site work day to focus, it’s important to fight for these times to stop and rest! This is the hardest part of the ministry rhythm for me. I love to go and struggle to stop and rest! The problem is that sustained success can only come with regular periods of rest.
We are at our best and most creative in ministry when we take time to intentionally slow down and rest. This beat is all about charging your ministry battery. What about you? Are you making time to rest and recharge?
Finding the right rhythm is key to effective ministry. My rhythm is to run hard after goals, walk slowly through the crowd, and rest religiously. What’s your best rhythm?