No, not the candy, although slightly stale yellow peeps are pretty amazing, but friends. Not friends under 18, not the intern, not assistants, not your spouse (although I would hope you are friends with your spouse) but I’m talking about real, honest, “not in your ministry” friends that do life with you.
We are told by the youth ministry gurus that relationships are where it’s at and we know they are right…for our kids. But what about you? For too many youth workers, our closest friends tend to be our teenagers – which honestly is a little weird when we say it like that isn’t it? We love students but those same students shouldn’t talk about our marriage, children, and ministry challenges should they? If you’re single, this raises all kinds of other issues if you don’t have honest friends walking with you.
Because we spend time at youth group, watching games and plays, meeting for coffee prepping studies, and doing the spreadsheets for the next camp, it seems that we have no time for relationships beyond ministry. Let’s face it; in ministry it can be a challenge to find time with your own family.
I learned early in ministry that I needed friends outside the ministry circle. I needed to be a part of group where my husband and I were just us; people trying to live for Christ in our marriage, with our kids, and in our workplaces. If you have learned the value of having your own community then you know what I’m talking about.
I know it takes my time but I’m a better mom, wife, youth leader, and friend because of these people who walk with me and my family. We hold each other up in prayer, laugh and cry with each other, celebrate kids, and discover Jesus. It’s not perfect, I don’t make every time we get together, but I know they are there. Some are in ministry with me, most are not. But we all serve in some way. They are my peeps.
Do you have peeps? While you can’t have mine, you can find your own. All it takes is prayer, a willing heart to join a small group and the investment of consistent time. I teach it to students every week, I better live it. In fact, we believe it’s so important that it is a requirement for my leaders to be a part of life group for their own growth and connection.
Often for Lent, beyond marshmallow candy, we give up something as a way to sacrifice and to prepare for the celebration of Christ’s resurrection. What if instead this season you added community? Do you have community outside of your ministry? By that I mean, a place where you are not the coach, not the leader, not the youth pastor, and not the mentor but a disciple of Christ seeking to live life with others on the journey.
If you have peeps, be blessed. As we move into this season that reminds us of the sacrificial love of Jesus, may we take time to say thank you to those that walk through life with you.
If not, this is for you. You value relationships for your students; it’s time to value of few of your own. Find some peeps.