You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Psalm 23:5b
Have you ever heard someone say to you, “You can’t pour from an empty cup”?
You might have even experienced moments that brought this phrase to mind. You know the ones—when you’re drained because you’ve given all you had, done all you could, or said all you know. Sometimes your cup is in need of a refill.
As leaders, it can be difficult to fill our own cups. Investing in ourselves might even feel self-indulgent, even though we are rightfully asked to do that for others. In fact, Barna Group highlights that “53% of pastors say it is at least somewhat difficult to find time in their ministry schedule to invest in their own spiritual development.”
Youth leaders, it is our calling to journey with the young people in our care. But we can’t show up for them if we don’t show up for ourselves first.
One of the most helpful lessons I have learned in ministry is that I need to lead from a place of fullness. For me, that fullness includes being physically rested. But I have also learned to be intentional about investing in my spiritual growth, self-development, and ministry preparedness. Sometimes I try new spiritual practices or resources, listen to podcasts that leave me feeling equipped and encouraged, read books, attend a virtual workshop, watch videos, or take an online course.
Investing in our own development
Now, I know you’re busy. While you serve teenagers, you may also be bi-vocational, a parent, a student, or have other commitments.
There isn’t always time to read ministry articles and blogs—much less an entire book.
The devotionals in your inbox don’t always get opened.
Budgets don’t always allow for the resources you want or need.
Your schedule may not accommodate a virtual workshop in the middle of the day.
The recording link requires more time than you have to watch and your access expires in 48 hours!
I’ve been there. So much content, not enough budget or too little time. These are very real limitations.
Today, I’d like to introduce you to a platform that takes all these realities—your realities—into consideration when creating resources for your personal, spiritual, and professional development.
FULLER Equip is an online, non-degree platform translating Fuller’s scholarship and insights into accessible digital training for leaders nationally and globally, giving leaders like you practical answers to your faith and ministry questions—when you want and wherever you are. We believe every Christian—regardless of their location, level of education, language, culture, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, career interest, or stage of life—should be able to access world-class resources and experiences.
On FULLER Equip, courses are affordably priced (many cost less than a book!) and leverage the quality learning associated with Fuller Seminary, one of the world’s largest evangelical, multidenominational institutions. FULLER Equip partners with seminary faculty and subject matter experts to create theologically sound courses that speak to the topics you face today—including popular courses like Spiritual Health in a Digital World, Stop Burnout Before It Stops You, Egalitarianism: Women in the Church, and Praying the Psalms.
A perfect partnership for busy youth leaders
If you’re looking to expand your youth ministry toolbox, FULLER Equip is partnering with the Fuller Youth Institute to provide short, 100%-online youth ministry courses designed for you, your volunteers, or anyone who wants to develop their ministry know-how. Our courses address contemporary and trending youth ministry topics like theology, ministry growth, and discipleship strategies.
To help you nourish and equip both yourself and your team to be the faithful, confident, innovative, collaborative, and effective leaders we’ve heard you want to be, we believe that you and your team deserve practical resources that are grounded in research, culturally aware, and ministry tested. That is why we’re launching a brand-new training course for you and your team!
Introducing our newest FULLER Equip course, Discipling Today’s Teenagers
Packed with findings from our latest book, 3 Big Questions That Change Every Teenager, we’ve designed this course with case studies to help you think through ministry scenarios and responses, practical tips, and bonus materials to help you train your team for effective discipleship with today’s teenagers. You’ll employ listening practices that cultivate empathy and develop skills to help students transition from their current answers to more Christ-centered answers regarding identity, belonging, and purpose.
Here's a sample outline from the lesson on identity:
- What is identity?
- Social location and identity
- Activity: Understanding your own social location
- Links to additional resources
- Identity exploration
- Examples of ways to support students through identity exploration
- Teens’ current answers to questions of identity
- Enough: The Christ-centered answer to the questions of identity
- Practical examples of how to show students they are enough
- Activity: Practice using a case study
- Activity: Guided video discussion with students
Youth leader, your students’ discipleship starts with you.
So listen to that podcast, follow the social media accounts, take as long as you need to read that book (or watch their TED talk), try that devotional or prayer app, watch the videos, subscribe to the email list. Make the time and find the resources for your spiritual and ministry development. And know that your efforts don’t have to be divided.
It’s not you or your students. It’s you, for your students. It’s you pouring out to them from the fullness of your cup.
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