By Ruth G. Howard
Children’s ministers are the most caring, nurturing, loving group of people on earth. They might also be the most exhausted. And, there’s a reason why. If you minister to children, you are called to take care of God’s youngest sheep. That means you need over-the-top, never-give-up, non-stop energy. You shoulder a big responsibility, one that’s a high calling and privilege. It requires you to be at your best morning, noon and night. The good news is God knows exactly how you feel and He is ready to help. God has called you and will not fail you. He’s promised to give you strength and energy for all the important things He’s asked you to do.
Studies have shown that if you’re tired, very often the reasons why may not be physical. The Lord created you-body, mind, and spirit. First, acknowledge that and then, pray. Ask God to help you make small lifestyle changes so you can do your best for the Lord. It’s not selfish to take care of yourself if you minister to children, it’s a must. Small changes can add up quickly to create renewed energy, a fresh perspective, and added zeal as you minister to others. It will also give you more energy for your family and even your friends. It’s simple and easy to do. You can start with a few simple guidelines.
Use Your God Given Gifts
One way you can renew your energy for ministry is to discover your special unique God-given talents and gifts and make sure you put them to use. When you do that, you will have renewed energy not only for children’s ministry but for your purpose for life. You may be blessed now and already use your gifts in ministry. If not, pray and ask the Lord to show you more about your gifts, talents, and abilities. Ask God to show you ways to use them. You will be more effective. Ask yourself the following three questions: What do you do easily and effortlessly? What do others complement about what you do? What ministry activities are you so passionate about you lose track of time when you’re doing them? Answering a few simple questions can start you on a new road for children’s ministry or refresh the one you’re already on.
Forgive and Then Some
Have you ever found yourself in a ministry situation where other people seem difficult? I can assure you they may have found you difficult to work with too. Conflict is a normal part of life and a normal part of ministry. Conflict can drain you of energy or be an exciting catalyst for spiritual growth. We are commanded to forgive others and pray for them. The best response to any challenge in ministry relationships is simple. Pray. Forgive. Never gossip. Keep no record of wrongs. “Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way.” I Cor.13: 4. Unforgiveness, or any root of bitterness will drain you of energy, the energy you need to minister to others with Christ’s love.
De-Clutter Your Ministry
Are you as organized as you should be? Perhaps not. Clutter in drawers, supply areas, and even on your own desk, can create chaos in your thinking and drain you of energy. Instead of ministering to others, you may find yourself looking for things you can’t find, don’t need, or should have gotten rid of long ago. Piles of clutter can be overwhelming and immobilizing. Keep it simple. Start with one pile at a time and throw away what you don’t need, give away anything others can use, and store the rest. De-clutter your ministry and you will instantly have more energy.
Eat a Rainbow of Colors
A quick way to increase your energy for ministry is by eating a rainbow of colors, and we don’t mean Skittles. God made fantastic fruits and vegetables to give your body the vitamins, minerals, and fiber you need to do your best. Better yet, almost all of them are low in calories. So, look for color at the produce section. Eat a rainbow of colors by choosing: dark leafy greens, broccoli, red peppers, carrots, blueberries, oranges and apples. More colors mean a variety of nutrients. And more nutrients mean you will have more energy for the children who need you most.
Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep
Are you getting enough sleep? The amount of sleep you get has a lot to do with how much energy you have and effects your sense of well-being. How much sleep do you get? Lack of sleep can make you feel tired, irritable and just plain exhausted. Lack of sleep can even contribute to weight gain. It can also make you less than your best for ministry. Try these tips:
â€¢ Stay away from caffeine late in the afternoon and evening.
â€¢ Relax and avoid high anxiety activities before bedtime, like paying bills. Instead begin to relax at least an hour before you put your head on the pillow.
â€¢ Lower the temperature and make your bedroom a bit cooler.
â€¢ Before you go to sleep, pray, and meditate on God’s Word.
You Were Made to Move
Your body was made to move and when you do, you will have more energy. It has to be the right kind of movement. The kind that strengthens your cardiovascular system is “aerobic,” and improves your hearth health. Even regular walking will do it. And better yet, listen to praise music as you walk and it will alleviate stress, renew and refresh you. You don’t have time? No one does. You have to make time and stick with it, like any other important appointment. Remember, your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit. “You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.” 1 Cor. 6:19-20
To be your very best as you minister to children, you need to make sure you are taking care of yourself. Not like the world but as God shows us clearly in his Word. You may sometimes feel drained, tired, and just plain exhausted, that’s only human but when you do, that’s the time to stop, and pray. Ask the Lord to direct your steps and daily choices. Ask to be filled with His energy, so you can fulfill God’s high and holy calling on your life. That can make all the difference in your life, and in the lives of all the children around you.
Ruth G. Howard RN, MA is the author of Energy for God’s Women. She loves to help those who work in children’s ministry restore the energy, joy and balance in their lives, God’s way. She’s married to singer/songwriter, Brian Howard, who wrote the well-known children’s songs, If I Were a Butterfly and I Just Wanna Be a Sheep. Learn more atwww.EnergyWomen.com.