Time. No matter where you live, the language you speak, or your occupation, we all have a set number of hours every day to use at our discretion. And that’s where the problem arises: The discretion for how we utilize our time is in our hands.
I continually hear friends, acquaintances, and complete strangers indicate that they “never have enough time.” To be honest, I’ve said those exact words myself recently. With all of life’s responsibilities, people are stressed out, exhausted, and constantly on the go, trying to make use of every second. We don’t make time to rest!
Young adults have more responsibilities and bigger demands on their time than ever before. They’re always “reachable” through technology, so they’re never “off.” For collegiate and young adult ministry leaders, there are ways we can help young adults make the most of their time and not see it as the enemy.
1. Be a model for taking control of your time instead of allowing time to take control of you.
This might be the most difficult thing to encourage you with, but we must be models of good stewardship with our time. Young adults observe the way we manage our time. If we live stressed out, hurried lives, we’ll see something very similar show up in the lives of young adults under our influence. Like it or not, we are being watched, and our actions speak much louder than our words ever will.
Paul points us toward living in a manner that makes wise use of our time. Ephesians 5:15-17 says, “Pay careful attention, then, to how you walk – not as unwise people but as wise – making the most of the time, because the days are evil. So don’t be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.”
Our time is not our own. We may think we own it, but the time we are given should be spent pursuing and growing God’s kingdom. Our jobs, families, and social lives all fit into how we live, but with a godly kingdom-minded focus, we see all of those things in a different light. As leaders, we must model good stewardship of time management.
2. Be an advocate for rest.
In the fast-paced culture in which we live, we’ve forgotten the beauty and necessity of rest. We deprive our bodies and minds of the proper rest needed to function in the most healthy manner. Studies indicate that we’re severely sleep deprived and consistently exhausted. That’s not the way God designed it to be. Many of us have given in to the idea that rest isn’t necessary, and that to be more productive, we must abandon the idea of consistent rest.
This is a lie! We need rest. We need Sabbath. When we abandon the importance of rest and Sabbath, we have abandoned a basic truth and command of Scripture: “Remember the Sabbath, and keep it holy” (Exodus 20:8).
We must encourage young adults to find avenues of rest. Schedule rest as a part of your weekdays and weekends. As we allow ourselves the moments to slow down and rest, we’ll be able to hear God’s voice in much clearer ways.
This also has significant meaning for our ministries. We have the tendency to put activities on the calendar in order for there to be “enough” offerings for everyone involved within our ministries. When we over-schedule, we exhaust our student leaders, which results in burnout and apathy for many of them. Figure out a few things that work and do them well.
3. Help others work smarter.
When I work smarter, I work better. When I start a week with a plan, as opposed to haphazardly going throughout my days, I get much more accomplished and am not nearly as stressed. Many young adults already have schedules filled up with meetings, social activities, and other responsibilities. Help them take a look at their weeks and begin to be proactive in the ways they approach their schedules. Help them make lists. Help them define the most important tasks for the week. When we find the right individual approach to organizing our schedules, we’ll work smarter and live healthier.
The young adult season of life can be chaotic. College students and young adults need help in approaching their lives with an attitude and plan for being good stewards of the time they’ve been given. The Enemy doesn’t want us to be purposeful with our time, but rather unproductive. As Christ-followers, our time is a gift. Let’s use it to honor and advance God’s kingdom.
Mark Whitt is a collegiate minister with the Baptist Collegiate Ministry at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, Tenn. Connect with Mark via Twitter.