Toward the end of a recent Live YM Talk show I did, “The struggle of growing spiritually in the midst of ministry,” we all shared a couple ways that are helpful for our personal spiritual growth. Here are 5 things I do when I'm feeling spiritually dry:
1. Serve in other areas of ministry. God never intended for us to grow solely by sitting on our butts in church or even at home reading the Bible and praying. Each of us are called to serve sacrificially, using our gifts to serve the Lord by serving others. Although we do this for a living, it’s easy for it to become less of a sacrifice that stretches us and more of a job. Find other ways to serve outside the youth ministry.
2. Read scripture as if you’re searching for something. It’s easy to skim through familiar passages, so slow down and read it as if you’re searching for something, because you are! The Holy Spirit wants to teach you and reveal Himself to you through the Word, so look for it and expect it. In fact, I usually highlight passages as they “jump off the page” at me while intentionally reading in an unfamiliar translation that’s harder to skim. It’s always encouraging to go back and read over those highlights again at the end of the day or a few days later and see how those were exactly the passages the Lord wanted to use in my life in different ways.
3. Listen for the Lord in prayer. I should probably shoot a vlog about this sometime because I could talk a lot about this, but basically, treat prayer as two-way communication with God: us speaking to Him through prayer and listening for His Holy Spirit, who resides in each of us as believers, to guide our thoughts to what He wants us to pray for. Be prepared for some pretty difficult conversations with Him, though, because it usually starts with all the sin in your life (speaking from personal experience).
4. Actively share your faith with a pre-Christian. Nothing energizes me more than watching the Lord work through me as I share Him with someone who doesn’t yet know Christ. It forces me to articulate what I believe and why, helps me think through my theology from a different perspective, and it’s especially fun to see how the Lord brings verses and thoughts to mind during the discussion that I totally know could not have come from me. It’s so cool how it usually pushes me to go back to the Word time and time again.
5. Not over-formatting my quiet times. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut and limit personal time with the Lord to reading a few verses of scripture, spending twice as much time reading one person’s opinion of those verses in a devotional book, and then praying through a “to-do” list to God. Since I don’t treat any other relationship in such a regimented mannor, it’s helpful for me to change things up and keep it fluid. Sometimes I’ll pray the whole time and never crack open the Bible. Sometimes I’ll read the whole time instead. Other times I’ll engage in worship with some music in the car. Give yourself the freedom to be creative and enjoy the relationship with God.
These lies are told every day all around our country, and people are believing them.