A couple years ago I had several friends who stepped down from their positions in youth ministry after being burned out. Two of them were single and the other was married. They were only getting paid to serve in their church for 40 hours a week, yet they were working 60-80 hours a week every week. They were doing great ministry by going to lunch every day at a different school, running several small groups, going to every after school sporting event, and putting on a great youth program on Sunday nights. They would sometimes take a day off...sometimes they wouldn't. They were going...going...going...but they really weren't taking care of themselves or their families.
It made me look at how I was doing ministry. I saw that at times I would be doing the same thing and putting in that many hours and not taking care of myself. At the time, Jessica and I were just dating. And I knew that if I wanted to ever get married and stay married and still be in youth ministry.
Shortly after that I went to a Youth Specialties event. I really can't remember who spoke and talked about dividing your day into thirds when being in ministry. But whoever it was....THANK YOU!
Basically you look at your events for the week and for each day you divide your day into thirds...Morning, Afternoon, Evening... If you plan on going to Lunch with youth and spending time in the office and have a small group that night...then you take the afternoon off. If you have an afternoon meeting and a chorus concert to attend...then take the morning off. Pretty simple!
At first I had trouble doing this and found myself not doing it every day...but slowly I started blocking my schedule out into thirds and it made life in ministry a lot easier.
Like today...it is Wednesday...so my first third is spending time at home getting things done around the house and spending time with family. I will then go into the office after lunch and do office things before Wednesday night programming...since I won't be home until around 9ish...Tomorrow I have nothing planned for the evening, so I will work in the morning and afternoon and spend my last third at home with my family!
I encourage you if you have trouble balancing life and ministry to try this for a week or a month and see how God really can use you not only in ministry but in your family!