Dear youth leader:
Being a youth leader can be both rewarding and challenging. It’s a role that requires a great deal of energy, compassion, and patience. If you’re feeling tired or overwhelmed during this Advent Season, you’re not alone. The demands of guiding and supporting young people, coupled with all the responsibilities of the season, in addition to balancing the visioning prep for upcoming trips and all that goes into them, can take a toll.
Firstly, we want to acknowledge the importance of your work. You play a crucial role in shaping the lives of young individuals and fostering their spiritual growth. Your dedication is commendable. We see you. We see how tirelessly you work to prepare youth events, Christmas parties, Christmas programs, and so much more, while also you are continuing to fundraise and prepare your congregation for the 2024 ELCA Youth Gathering. Your work for the sake of young people to know that they are loved by God is admirable.
Here are a few words of encouragement:
- You’re Making a Difference: Even on the days when it feels like you’re not making an impact, remember that your presence and guidance are meaningful. You may not always see immediate results, but God is working through you in mighty ways to influence and shape the future of our young people.
- Take Care of Yourself: It’s crucial to prioritize self-care. Just as you support others, make sure to carve out time for rest, relaxation, and activities that bring you joy. Taking care of your well-being will ultimately enhance your ability to support others. Let the Holy Spirit fill you with peace as you find moments of rest.
- Lean on Your Support System: Don’t hesitate to reach out to fellow youth leaders, church leaders, mentors, or friends for support. Sharing your challenges and successes with others who understand your role can provide valuable perspective and encouragement—and remember, God is with you through it all.
- Set Realistic Expectations: Understand that you can’t do everything, and it’s okay to ask for help. Set realistic expectations for yourself and your ministry. Take one day, one step at a time. You are more than your to-do list. You are enough. Your worth is not found in how much you accomplish today.
- Celebrate Small Wins: Acknowledge and celebrate the small victories, whether it’s a breakthrough with a particular individual, successfully formatting a spreadsheet, having exactly enough supplies for that late-night youth party, or finding enough Angels for the Advent Festival.
- Reflect on Your Calling: Take a moment to reflect on why God called you to be a youth leader. Why does this work matter? Reconnecting with your sense of calling can reignite your passion for the work that God is doing in and through you.
Dearest youth worker, we see how weary you are, but beloved one, beautiful child of God, hear this:
You are enough.
Just as you are. You do not need to do anything more, or be anything more. You are, just as you are created to be, exactly enough. Your commitment to loving, guiding, and supporting the youth is making a positive impact, and your efforts do not go unnoticed.
Take care, and may you find renewed energy and inspiration this Advent season as we wait for the coming Christ, Emmanuel, God with us.