Obstacle 1 // We, as Canadian Baptists, Have Neglected our own Spiritual Health and Wellness.

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We cannot lead people where we have not gone.

We cannot give people a drink if our well is empty.

As leaders, influential in the lives of young people, gathered and talked about what is hindering us from reaching more of this generation with the Gospel we started with ourselves.

Many leaders have allowed holes to be drilled into their bucket, day after day, week after week, year after year, without ever plugging the holes or allowing Jesus to create a whole new bucket and fill their bucket to overflowing.

These leaders recognize that if we are to lead more people to Jesus, we need to be closer to Jesus.

We recognize how many of both our paid and volunteer youth and children leaders only stick around for a couple years before burnout, unhealthy practices or other priorities take them over.

We recognize how often times the work of ministry overshadows our own relationship with God.

We recognize how quickly we end up “doing” for God instead of “abiding” with God and following His Spirit.

We will not lead more to Jesus if we are drifting from Jesus.

When frustration, broken relationships, mental strain, dislike for the Church or evil start creeping in we become ineffective.

We recognize when we lose our first love, we start being overly concerned with competing idols – what others think of us, money, numbers, the next pay cheque, who is against us, what will make others happy, the hours we are putting in…

We are sorry for losing our first love.

We need Jesus.

We, the Canadian Baptist youth leaders admit we need to get back to our first love, Jesus, and His first love, the Church.

When we are connected to the vine – spiritually healthy and physically health – we are in a prime position to be used by God. This is God’s work, not our own.

We need to re-establish healthy rhythms of self-leaderships: saying yes or no with discernment, engagement in God’s Word for our own mind and heart, taking care of our own physical body, taking Sabbath, falling in love with Christ’s church and remember why we do what we do.

Church, will you help us?

Will you care as much for our souls as you do our numbers and budget?

Will you value us as people, as God’s children, first and foremost?

Will you hold us to healthy rhythms that helps us fall deeper in love with Jesus and His Kingdom ways?

Church, here are some practical things you can do to help your youth/children worker keep Jesus first:

·       Give them regular days off that are truly days off

·       Build in rhythms for Sabbath and retreat in their ministry schedule

·       Ask about their soul and what God is showing them personally

·       Care for their tangible needs and the needs of their family

·       Take an interest in their whole life, not just their ministry/work life

·       Pay them well & reasonably so they are not stressed and worried about making ends meet or finding more work

·       Ask about stories of God’s work in and through their ministry (not just asking about numbers or money expenses and revenue)

Thank you for helping us fall deeper in love with Jesus.

A heart full of love for Jesus will overflow to your kids, teenagers and community with Jesus.

-Renée @r_embree @cbacyf

Renée Embree