Give Yourself Permission During This Season

Todd Buegler has been navigating the impacts of COVID-19 both in his role within the local church and as the Executive Director of the ELCA Youth Ministry Network. As youth workers have been holding the tension between all the anxieties related to today and striving to dream ahead, Todd outlines a few ways that youth workers can give themselves permission and grace during this season.

Check out the full interview above, and here are a few key takeaways:

1) Give yourself permission to say, “I don’t know.”

Many of us try to be people with all the answers. But the reality of today is that none of us know what the future holds. We can plan options, strategize best case and worst case scenarios, but in the end, we need to be OK with ultimately not knowing and communicating that clearly.

2) Give yourself permission to plan differently.

Ministry looks different, so your planning should look different too. Give yourself permission to plan in shorter chunks, maybe not as far ahead as you typically have. Planning in shorter chunks allows you to assess as you go, make changes, and realign expectations as needed.

3) Give yourself permission to not make ministry so complicated.

Use this as an opportunity to focus on the more simplistic relational aspects of ministry. Make phone calls, write notes, drive by and drop off gift bags. Invest your energy in things that reiterate to your students and their families that you are here for them, you’re available to them, and you are thinking of them.

4) Give yourself permission to vent (in a safe place and with safe people).

We all need safe spaces and safe people who allow us to let down our guard. Find someone, a group or a network that will allow you to safely confess your concerns, worries and anxieties. Having those people around you, holding those things with you, is so important right now.

This one of the things I love most about the ELCA Youth Ministry Network. They create safe spaces and help facilitate healthy conversations across the full spectrum of what we’re most afraid of and what we’re most excited about. Check them out online:

We’re here to help you find a way forward in this season.

As you continue to reexamine your philosophy of ministry, and your methodology begins to come into focus, know that we’re ready to help with you with whatever form your mission trip and service experiences take in this next year. Here are a few of the ways we can support you right now:

YW Extended Care:

YW Extended Care was created for you to name exactly what you need, how we can support you, and invite our team alongside you during this time. Don’t do any of it alone. We’ve got your back.

Trip Leader Guides:

  • Where do our payments go for a YW mission trip?
  • What does COVID-proof mission trip planning look like?
  • What key details do our parents need to know about a YW mission trip?

These guides were created to help you unpack and communicate responses to those key questions.