How much of it do you have? According to The World Health Organization, the United States ranks 36th in Life Expectancy out of 193 countries. This means the average male in the US can expect to live 78.3 years while females can expect to outlast their male counterparts to age 81.3. By contrast, the average male in Kenya plans his last birthday at age 60 while the average male living in Sierra Leone may not see his 40th birthday. If you live approximately 78 years and enjoy the average number of hours per sleep per day (9) then you will have consumed approximately 427,050 hours of discretionary time or about 48 years.
Most of us do take the time we have for granted but in the world of youth ministry, we must not waste it on things that do not have or lead to Kingdom impact. One of the major reasons is because youth pastors have a maximum of seven years to leverage against the development of the students entrusted to their ministry care. In most cases, students are entering and exiting the student ministry arena at different ages making our time for impact even more precarious.
So we return to the initial question: How much time do you have? Unless you know precisely when you are going to die you cannot answer the question with any certainty.
Let me encourage you to guard your time by practicing three important Time Management Tips.
Considering the minutes God entrusts to your care, be sure to:
1. Manage Your Time WELL Because . . .
- It is finite.
- You only have so much of it.
- The amount you do have is unknown.
- It is a non-renewable resource.
- When it is gone it’s gone for good.
2. Manage it INTELLIGENTLY
Be careful not to allow your time to manage you. Instead, take control of your calendar as a smart steward distinguishing between that which is tentative and which is necessary. With all the modern technology available to assist with managing work and personal calendars, there remain far too many poor time managers. I am amazed at the number of managers (ministry and secular) who for whatever reason find themselves missing meetings, double booking, and over-committing.
I have college-age and young adult colleagues who can access and demonstrate a thousand apps on the newest smartphone or tablet but can’t arrive at a meeting on time or make notes to remember what decisions were made during a planning session.
One student minister expressed that he would be a much better time manager if his computer did not also house his favorite games. His distraction and addiction to gaming competition was a hindrance to his smartly managing his time.
3. Manage Time BIBLICALLY
Remember, your time is not your own. You are accountable to:
- God for the time He graciously bestows you.
- Your supervisor for how you spend it.
- Your family for how you prioritize it.
Spending plenty of time in the scriptures will make you and your ministry significantly stronger. Take your student-targeted sermons seriously. If you are writing from scratch, good for you but don’t feel guilty for using ministry tools for sermon ideas and outlines. Conversely, if you mostly use or only use ministry tools for downloading sermon outlines and scripts – please, please write something original. Not only will it ignite a passion to preach what God gives you but it makes you a better persuader of the Gospel. Remember, only the scriptures through His divine revelation can change the heart of a student, a student minister or a student ministry. Who and what you prioritize are some of the tell-tale signs of if you will have a successful ministry.
“Making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.” Ephesians 5:16
“So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” Psalm 90:12
“The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” Proverbs 16:9
“Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time.” Colossians 4:5