In ministry we tend to swing from vine to vine, but it’s important to find time in those in-between moments – and spend it wisely.
My “tax season” ended recently. I finished First Eucharist at one parish and then, on April 15th (get it? Tax Season?) we celebrated Confirmation at the other parish. There were some individual Baptisms and First Reconciliations along the way as well.
And then I completed a weekend with nothing to do, nowhere to be, no one to meet. Duffy Robbins described that youth ministry programming as often seeming like it promoted “Tarzan Christianity.” We swing from vine to vine. Somehow the vines are miraculously placed exactly where the next needed to be. Despite this quiet weekend, a week-long service trip, two vacation bible schools, and other events all loom as the next vines. With this mindset, it is easy to consider it a jungle of transitions out there.
But those transitions matter. It’s important to figure out what to do in the in-between. Here is how I intend to manage these next days and weeks between:
REST – My time sheets indicate an over-balance of comp time. With week long events looming in the summer, that situation will only worsen. Dinners at home, household chores, family check-ins all have risen towards the top of my to-do lists. In this time of in-between, I am not going to stay busy to just appear busy. I have been busy and now I must rest.
RELATE – I am going to take time to break away from the herd mentality of the taxing sacramental season. I aspire to realign my communication towards more of the personal one-on-one follow-ups with people. I desire to gain a discipline (especially in this down time) of making connections with personal and professional contacts.
RECONFIGURE – This is also a time where I can restructure my calendar. I have fallen into many small writing assignments (bulletin announcement, prayers of the faithful) that are due early in the week. If I have free time on Sunday, I am going to start giving this list an hour’s attention then. All writing projects, including the Thursday catechist newsletter and the Wednesday youth ministry e-blast, will be completed before the end of the day Monday. Mondays are for writing projects.
RYTHM – I have been in my new jobs for thirteen months. It is time to move beyond the responsive mode of operation and move more towards the proactive. My efforts at calendaring are not limited towards the dates and room reservations. Calendaring involves developing the task list that looks beyond the next vine of the immediate task. Calendaring takes into consideration the work of securing the many vines of future travels.
Failure to be a good steward of my time and energies is only risking an unhappy outcome. Please comment and share how you are watching out for yourselves when in-between vines, programs, and seasons. In the meanwhile, WATCH OUT FOR THAT TREE.