The Hidden Moments

This is going to be a little longer today than normal, but if you stick with me I’ll try to make it worth it.

I’m bringing something to you today that has absolutely revolutionized not only my life, but my student ministry as well.

It’s taken me from being a guy who is barely catching up to a guy who is making progress.

This revelation has moved me from a place where I was at times throwing Youth Service together an hour before it started to intentional, well-planned, Spirit-led Youth Services.

It has moved me from a place of reaction to a place of thoughtful action.

Are you ready to hear about it?

Awesome, because I’m ready to tell you.

Every year in December I try to take some quiet time to reflect. I slow things down with our Youth program, I spend more time with family, and I spend time alone with God. It’s at these times that I seek His direction and ask for His guidance on the next year. I celebrate what has been accomplished, and I prepare myself for what is ahead. As I did that this past December, I felt the Lord lay a verse on my heart…not for my students, not for my family, but for me:

Ephesians 5:16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

I’m often very transparent on this blog, and I will be today as well. I have to confess…there have been moments where I have been excellent in Student Ministry. There have been moments where I’ve been a great Dad and Husband. But there have been very, very few moments when I was able to be both simultaneously. And you know what? I fell into the bi-vocational trap:

“If I was a full-time Youth Pastor, I wouldn’t have this problem!”

The truth is…full-time Student Pastors have just as many challenges as I do (come on now…how many bi-vocational guys are gonna stick up for the full-time guys? Show me some love, here!). When God gave me that verse, I began to really internalize it and try to find out what He was trying to tell me. And I came up with this concept: Finding the Hidden Moments.

It wasn’t like I was blowing away hours and hours playing video games (well, most days anyway). I very rarely watch a movie, or go to the mall, or browse YouTube for random videos. I just wasn’t “redeeming the time” that was available to me. So, by the time I got home, I had hours of Student Ministry work to do, and two sets of little hands tugging at my pant legs pleading “Daddy, play?” Not to mention a wife who was stressed from dealing with these hooligans all day and ready for some adult conversation. So there was a choice…spend time with the family and get behind on Youth work, or get my Youth work done and ignore my family. Either decision is wrong.

I began looking for those Hidden Moments, and here’s what I found:

  1. I could get up an hour earlier and spend some time in prayer.
  2. I typically have an hour lunch break (sometimes a little longer), but can easily finish eating in 15-20 minutes. That means I have a minimum of 40 minutes I could spend doing other things.
  3. Instead of listening to the radio on the way home from work, I could be getting some phone calls knocked out.
  4. I normally get to the church early before Tuesday night prayer because I come straight from work. There’s about 30 minutes to an hour I could be taking advantage of there.
  5. I have 5-15 minute breaks in the action throughout the day, and I can knock out quick, simple little tasks here and there.

So now I make a list every Sunday of what needs to get accomplished throughout the week. I balance it out throughout the week, so that one particular day isn’t overloaded. I then figure out what my day will look like, and what I can accomplish when. Now I get to come home, put my laptop up, get down on the floor, and play with my girls. I get to sit and spend some time with my wife. And I get to be excellent in Student Ministry as well…all because I found the Hidden Moments.

What about you? What are you doing to “redeem the time?” You may have some ideas for me!

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