Don’t Stretch Yourself Thin

As the NFL season has gotten underway, those of us who are fans with an (almost) unhealthy passionfor the game have begun our fantasy football season. If you are completely unfamiliar with the concept of Fantasy Football, that’s okay. Google it. I’ll wait.

This year I am overseeing teams in 4 separate fantasy leagues. Yup. Four. I hesitated adding the fourth, but because of who was in it (some good friends and my wife), I dove right in. After two weeks of fantasy managing, I am struck by a couple of observations that I would like to share.

  • Managing four teams means you wind up rooting for yourself and against yourself at the same time. Often after the game is over, and you realize the running back who had the monster day for you in one league also scored a boatload of points against you in another league.
  • The overabundance of leagues could take over your life. Seriously. Injuries, benchings, bad days. These all combine to make chaos for your team on any given week.

There is a lesson in all of this for Youth Pastors. Ministry can be a lot like fantasy football. We can do a lot of stuff that is fun and flashy, create programs and events that heighten a student’s passion for God for a while (even fantasy football’s charm wears off after a while). But we need to be cautious about how much we do. I went 1-3 in my first week managing four teams. In fact, in one league I lost by 3 points. I had too many guys on my team that played against me as well. Granted, I was relying upon other people to get the job done (something else we do in ministry).

I overextended myself. I stretched myself too thin, and i lost three games out of four.

In ministry we need to be very cautious about this. We aren’t managing teams of professionals who have no contact with us. We are investing into the lives of students who are hungering for something deeper, something real. And if we overextend ourselves, if we stretch ourselves too thin, we can really hurt the teens we work with. And that leaves real, long-term damage down the road.

Be careful in your ministry. Make sure you have quality volunteers helping your ministry. Spend time focusing on recharging your soul so that you do not find yourself rushing to “fix” your “roster” five minutes before game time. Focus on a couple of things that you do well, and stick with them.

And don’t forget that even after a bad week, great things can happen the next (I went 4-0 my second week).

BONUS: Check out what happened in one of those leagues this week: