4 Essential Elements of an Amazing Personal Retreat

You need to do a retreat!

I can already hear you say, “Ugggg, I’m exhausted from the year and have no energy to put on a retreat”.

That’s not the kind of retreat I’m talking about.  You need to go on a personal retreat.  –A retreat where you spend time with God, plan, and fill your empty tank.

In fact I believe an annual personal retreat is a critical piece of your effectiveness and the effectiveness of your ministry.  Think of it as you taking your car to the mechanic or going to the doctor for a checkup.  When these things are done regularly everything runs more effectively and often you can catch problems before they become too big.

Here’s 1 key and 4 elements of a personal retreat a success.

One Question That Will Make You Effective and Provide Sanity

What are you?

I know a weird question.  Maybe a better way to phrase it would be, what are you to your students?

When I first started in youth ministry I didn’t have a clear answer.  As a result, it created havoc in my life.

  •  I didn’t have time for my wife
  • I didn’t have time for the ministry
  • I didn’t have time for the important but not urgent things
  • -I didn’t have time for me

In short, because I couldn’t answer the above question I had very bad boundaries.

So maybe I can help.  In a student’s life, I can definitely tell you the 2 people you cannot be.

4 Strategies to Make Next Year Great Today

I know it’s April but the summer is coming.

In fact you might already be feeling the fatigue of the youth ministry calendar. Don’t worry, the summer is coming!  The summer is not just a time to rest.  It’s also a great time to evaluate and plan for changes in your youth ministry and life. However, if you want to maximize your summer, you need to start planning for it now.

Here are 4 simple strategies you can use to make next year amazing.

3 Ways to be Mentored When You Have No Mentor

Too often I talk to young youth leaders and they are desperate to be mentored.  Unfortunately they find themselves in a situation where the leaders above them are not interested in mentoring them.

Maybe this is you.  Do you want to be mentored but when you look around there are no mentors to be found.  If so, here are 3 ways that you can find that mentorship that you are craving.

Overcoming that Overwhelmed Feeling

Feeling Overwhelmed?

I woke up feeling like there was no way I was going to get over this never ending to do list. Most of the items couldn’t be put off. They needed to get done NOW.

I thought of other parents running from high school activities for their teens and hospitals for their parents, all while constantly receiving emails and updates from work.

The work day doesn’t end. The list of projects and demands doesn’t stop. It’s taxing on the mind and the nerves. Stress accumulates and we are expected to be patient and loving with the people closest to us. That can be asking a lot.

I don’t know about you, but here are a few ways that I have learned to deal with this pressure..

Please Read Before You Give Up

I get it.  Youth ministry is difficult.

Not many people understand what you do.  It can be frustrating dealing with…

  • senior pastors
  • students
  • parents
  • youth
  • volunteers
  • teenagers
  • custodians
  • high schoolers

This frustration can cause you to want to give up.  To throw in the towel and leave youth ministry or at least go to another church.

Before you do that I would like to reintroduce you to an important word.  Perseverance.  It is an important word in youth ministry.  In fact it is a word that you need to cultivate in your life.

Here are 7 ways you can do it.


“There’s somebody under all that stuff!”

a young man shouted.
[I wrote this for North Pointe Community Church]

My eyes were open but I couldn’t see.

I couldn’t breathe either. I had been winded before but this was different. I really couldn’t breathe. All I could do was pray silently, “God I have to live. Anna is pregnant and I have to be there to help her bring up the baby.”

Finally I sucked in a tiny breath with searing pain.

I could see dimly. One shoe and my glasses were gone. I could hear myself groaning as people were pulling twisted shelves, cans and ceiling tiles off of me.

My mind reeled. How did I get here?