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We all want to be a great youth worker; to love our students well, to care for families, and to keep ourselves healthy. To be great, you have to be intentional when doing what you do. And each week offers us the opportunity to be better, maybe even great. So here are three simple things you can do this week to be better at what you do.

Every group has them. They sit off towards the back of the room. They don’t really talk to anyone. They’re a little different from the rest of the students. Quiet. Awkward. Shy. And, ready and waiting for you to take an interest in them.  It’s sometimes easy to overlook these kids simply because they aren’t as outgoing as your other students. I remember back to those early years finding myself drifting towards the kids that were easy to talk to, get along with, and have fun. It took a lot of work to train myself to look for and reach out to the fringe kids. Conversations were usually a little more challenging, the interaction a little awkward, but if you work out it, you’ll find that these kids have a lot to offer the rest of the group!

I can’t tell you how helpful it is to have lunch with a parent. This is practice that you should try to do as much as possible. Think about it, as you reach out to the student, you work to get to know them; their likes, dislikes, their story, hopes, dreams, etc. Now apply that same effort to the parent. The payoff for this can be huge. You have the opportunity to share your passion for what you do. You get to know a parent and a family that could become a big supporter of your ministry. You get to brag on the student, which makes the parents feel great. You get a glimpse at the family/home life of the student. You might discover a cheerleader for your ministry.

This one is super important. Not long into my career as a youth worker, it was suggested to me that I should be sure to take care of myself. That means that as I plan my calendar for each week, month, year, I need to be taking time for me. Time to rest, reconnect, and recharge. Time to simply be in the presence of  God. And, time to have some fun. I cannot stress enough the importance of scheduling time for yourself. So don’t be afraid to take a day or two every couple of weeks so you can pause and get some me time!

There you are. Probably things you may have heard before, but we all need a reminder like this. a little better as a youth worker. So here’s to a new year and a few new habits!

Written by, Jay Higham.

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