When was the last time you were still? I’m not talking just a little bit still where you were multi-tasking in your mind while you were attempting to be still. I’m talking about the type of still where your mind is completely at rest and you are able to fully hear the truth of what the Lord wants to show you through His Word.
We work with young adults and their worlds are chaotic. But let’s be honest, our lives are not much less chaotic – ours are just chaotic in different kinds of ways. As young adult ministry leaders, we often fail to take opportunities of rest and moments of being quiet. What would it look like if we began to practice the discipline of silence in order to focus on our own hearts and the call that the Lord has given us to lead young adults?
The writer of the 46th Psalm understood the crucial importance of silence. Psalms 46:10 says, “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” (ESV).
Here are some ways that we can practice the discipline of silence in order to be more effective leaders.
1. Take regular opportunities to get away from the noise of your life.
Taking regular opportunities to get away to places where you can be silent takes some planning and intentionality. Often we make excuses that we simply do not have time to be still. However, the ministries we lead will benefit when we find time to be still and listen to the heart of God.
I’m not sure what would fit your rhythm of life, but be intentional about taking a few days, an afternoon, or even an hour to be still so that you can calm your soul. Check out some places that offer retreats for leaders to experience a rest or retreat. Don’t do this halfway; be fully engaged with the opportunity to be still so that you can hear His heart.
2. Focus on Scripture while being still.
Each week, we have opportunities to lead young adults in small and large group Bible study. While being still, focus on the Scripture that you’ll be teaching and allow the Holy Spirit to guide your heart. Seek Him for the direction and truths that you’ll need to focus on with your group.
One beautiful aspect of God’s Word is that it’s consistently teaching us and showing us more of the truth and hope of Jesus. The more we meditate upon His Word, the more it becomes a part of our lives. Take the time to be still and truly reflect upon the Scripture that you will be teaching so that the Word of Christ will “dwell in you richly” (Colossians 3:16).
3. Write down what you hear from the Lord.
Whether you’re a disciplined journal keeper or not, be intentional about writing down what you hear and learn into a journal. We think we’ll remember things. But with the chaos of life, the things we hear are quickly forgotten. Taking the time to write some things down will allow you to go back later and continue the process of learning and listening.
As young adult ministry leaders, we simply cannot afford to not take the time to be still. Find some moments to rest your soul. It’s in the moments that we stop moving and allow ourselves to stop striving that we actually hear the truth of God.
Mark Whitt is a collegiate minister with Baptist Collegiate Ministry at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, Tenn. Connect with Mark via Twitter.