Giving youth pastors the tools they need to make and shape disciples.

Balance and Boundaries: Bi-Vocational Ministry Done Right Part 2

4 · 02 · 23

This is part two of Balance and Boundaries. If you want to hear part 1 you can click here.

Boundaries protect you from abuse

When I say abuse I do not mean physical or verbal abuse but time, effort and soul abuse. Part time youth pastors, like yourself, can be abused because you have a heart for kids and you want to do right by your calling. You can do right and keep your convictions until the church steps up to give you what your are deserved.

The part time pay for full time work has to stop. This mentality is a lot like the saying, “Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free”. As crass a saying as this is, there are some pastors who live by it. Why should I pay you more when you are willing to do so much for so little. Who’s going to stop it? You are!

When you put a value on your calling, your time, your family and your skills, you are creating a boundary.

When those in authority see those boundaries, they will either respect them or seek to exploit them with whispered tones of “we might go in a different direction.” Let them. Call their bluff.

I am not saying to be stupid but wise as serpents and gentle as doves. Yes, you love your students, but don’t allow that love to be taken advantage of. How do you do that? By creating some hard NO statements.

What are your hard NO statements?

No calls after 8pm?

No office hours beyond what was agreed upon?

No activities on the weekends?

No extra…?

You don’t have to make a list of No Statements and nail them to your pastors door, I don’t recommend that, but you can be firm in your reasonable convictions and eventually they will get the message, you cannot be coerced or guilted out.

And don’t worry, your kids don’t need more of you, they just need all of you when you are with them.

Boundaries provide freedom for you and your family

I have missed my share of family events and activities because I felt I had to or was expected to have youth events or to spend more time with the youth. I have also given up personal plans, things I thought would benefit me or would have been restorative for my soul for the sake of “the church” when in reality it was just ego, a need to please someone or self righteousness.

Boundaries stave off resentment. When you create boundaries for your family or to enjoy the things you want to enjoy, you feel better about serving.

Giving up your plans for the whims of others, eventually creates a deficit which only will lead to hard feelings.

Boundaries create a healthy point of view towards your ministry and those who lead you because in taking time for you and your family you have poured into your own soul and don’t feel like you’re lacking anything.

Boundaries prepare you to do your best work

Saturday night live creator and producer Lorne Michaels once said,

To me there’s no creativity without boundaries. If you’re gonna write a sonnet, it’s 14 lines, so it’s solving the problem within the container. — Lorne Michaels

My youth meetings are one hour start to finish. In other youth groups I’ve had 90 minutes or two hours. One hour is the boundary and I have to be creative and decide what goes into that one hour and what does not.

The container is the boundary. The boundaries you set for ministry and family allows you to be creative within the space you give yourself. If you’re saying, “But if I had more time…” stop, you’re wrong. If you had more time you’d find more ways to waste it. Once you have boundaries whatever must be produced will be produced.

Boundaries may limit you but you’ll also create your best work within them.

“But what about the students, don’t they need more of me?” No, they’ll be fine. They have a God who loves them, a family that loves them and you love them but you don’t need to be full time do that.

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