Practicing to Thrive After the High

It is true, year after year at camp we see teens experience “spiritual highs.” As youth pastors and youth leaders, we are encouraged by how God is moving in our students’ lives and how they are responding to how God is revealing himself. But that’s just it, all highs come to an end and sometimes they come crashing down. It’s impossible to constantly keep a high, a high. But maybe it’s okay that spiritual highs come to an end. After all, highs are not the norm.

It’s important for our students to know that highs are moments and during these moments our cups are overflowing. These spiritual highs give us that extra boost but they do not sustain us. This is where we as youth pastors and leaders come in. We can help our students find and make new normals that sustain their spiritual journies of faith. However, normals must look consistent. Even before the school year starts we can help our students form good disciplines.

For example, set up reading groups where students read portions of Scripture together and share an active message thread where they can leave comments of how God is speaking to them through his Word. We can participate by posting questions to help get it going.

What are other ways we can help create new spiritual normals for our students as they pursue a constant relationship with Jesus?

As for the tired youth pastor and leader; consistent connection to the Source of Life is the key. I know I’m preaching to the choir. I know you “know,” but to “know” is different than to DO. Often times it’s difficult to get away and refill. However, when we can’t we need to do what we have been teaching and asking our students to do. Practice the spiritual disciplines and the nurture our relationship with Jesus. This is what will sustain us. I remember going to a conference one year in the early fall, the speaker knew his audience well, so well that he gave us permission if we were tired to find a comfortable place to take a nap while he spoke. To the exhausted youth pastor and leader, I say, “go take a nap!”

Donabel Martin
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