“Now when Jesus saw great crowds around him, he gave orders to go over to the other side” (Matthew 8:18).

Perhaps it happens to you every February. You look down at your desk and discover that your inbox is crammed full of work. You are deep in the throes of a long winter with much to do and seemingly little time to do it. Your pile of work is larger than your stockpile of energy.

Take a step back, and consider what is important. Make a list of priorities. Take care of important matters first. Allow less important matters to slide to the back burner. Don’t allow yourself to be overwhelmed by what needs to be accomplished. You are more than a slot machine, and people shouldn’t always be allowed to keep adding to your total.

Jesus understood how to work His priorities very well. When Jesus was a boy in the temple, we recall He said, “I must be about my father’s business.” Jesus had made the leap at an early ago of focusing on the important matters, and He let other cares and concerns (such as those expressed by Joseph and Mary) slide to the back of the heap.  Later, when Jesus began His journey to Jerusalem, many disciples turned back and no longer followed Him. The priorities Jesus had set for Himself were not the priorities of some of His followers. They wanted to add to Christ’s inbox, hoping He would take on other agendas and set His focus on other matters. Jesus thought differently.

All of us only have so much time in a day,  only so much time in a week; but what we do with that time defines our priorities. Youth leaders especially need to be focused on those things they have been called to do.

Perhaps in your setting, you are being asked to do far more than your job description. You may have your hands in a multitude of other ministries that are not oriented around ministering to teenagers and their families. You may feel unappreciated or used.

This is when prioritizing and getting away from the slush pile can help. Make sure you talk about these things with your immediate supervisor (pastor, director, etc.) and find a better place for yourself and your ministry. Don’t let winter drag you down. Stay focused on the positive, aand soon you’ll see that slush pile disappear.

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About The Author

Todd Outcalt is the lead pastor of Calvary United Methodist Church in Brownsburg, Indiana and is a thirty-year youth ministry veteran. He is the author of twenty-five books in six languages, including the youth ministry titles: $5 Youth Ministry (Group); Last-Minute Meetings (Abingdon); Ready to Go Youth Meetings (Abingdon); and The Youth Ministry Encyclopedia (Kindle).

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