What Energizes You?

Posted: December 19, 2012 in creativity, junior high ministry, middle school ministry, small group

What Energizes YouI’ve always been fascinated by anything that teaches me more about myself. That statement may seem a little narcissistic, but it’s still true. Whenever I learn something new about myself, it’s like the moment I put my contact lenses into my eyes in the morning – everything in life is just a little clearer.

Lately I’ve been learning more about my personality through a couple different experiences. Here are just a few of those lessons:

  • My Myers-Briggs personality type (ENFP) was described by a certain personality test as a “planner of change.” The words planner and change don’t usually go into the same sentence or phrase. And yet somehow that’s an impeccable description of how I think. I am always thinking and dreaming of new ideas and ways of doing things. It’s truly what energizes me. (The same personality test, however, described the ENFP weakness as “lack of follow through,” which is also a painful truth about me!)
  • I love thinking, talking, reading, and doing discipleship. I hear that word and my mind begins to wander. I’ve seen it done well and I’ve seen it done poorly – which probably doesn’t actually count as “doing” it if it’s done poorly, as it’s one of those things that either happens or doesn’t happen. I have two new books sitting on my desk, and both have to do with discipleship (“Multiply” by Francis Chan and “Masterpiece: The Art of Discipling Youth” by Paul Martin). I contribute a lot of this passion to one of my mentors, Alan Briggs, who once asked me a simple question, “Have you ever been discipled by someone?” My ambiguous answer to that question led me on a quest to make sure every middle schooler that comes through our ministry can answer YES to that question one day. This discussion and quest is truly what energizes me.
  • Whenever I get to be creative with a sermon or sermon series, as well as finding creative games that get middle schoolers excited about being at church, I get energized.
  • When I get to go on date nights with my beautiful wife and serve Kingdom purposes alongside each other, I get energized.
  • When I’m around other people who are just as excited as I am about middle school ministry and discipleship, I get energized.
  • When I am writing and blogging simply out of passion and excitement for the subject instead of doing it for the praise and approval of other people, I get energized. (This should also explain my absence from writing for the last couple months. After realizing I was getting sucked into the praise and approval side of blogging too much, I needed to hit pause. That doesn’t energize me in the way I want to be energized. I’d rather write for the glory of God and to inspire others in their ministry with middle schoolers than for any other reason.)

So there you go. Those are a few of the lessons I’m learning about myself. Why did I write this for a middle school ministry blog? Because every middle school youth worker, volunteer, parent, and student gets energized by different things. One of the keys to leading well is tapping into the things that energize the people you work with and leaning into it for kingdom purposes. For example, I’ve learned that the 6th grade guys in my Life Group that I co-lead still very much like things like Lego’s and being creative. So last week at Life Group I had one of the guys bring a bucket of Lego’s. To start our time I asked the guys to build something that represented or symbolized their relationship with Jesus. Every single guy had an amazing creation and description. One guy built a Lego heart that didn’t quite connect at the top because according to him, he feels close to Jesus, but there’s a gap that still needs to be filled before he thinks it will be complete. He even put a Lego spider web in the middle of the heart to signify to gap he feels. Two words: creative energy.

What energizes the specific students that you are discipling? Whether you are parenting them or pastoring them, your students have things that energize them that you can tap into for kingdom purposes.

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