Emotional Boundaries in Student Ministry

Have you ever felt sleepy driving on the interstate? It’s the moment when your tires start to “humm” as they roll over the small ridges on the side of the road that becomes a warning sign and wakes you up! It is only when you realize you are headed off the road that you can make a correction to stay on track.

In ministry and in life, we must set up boundaries.

Emotions are powerful. Emotions are a part of our makeup as human beings. God created us as emotional beings. The first step in breakdowns in boundaries is allowing emotions to be the driving factor to leadership.

Emotions left alone will lie to us most of the time. A lot of people think that sexual temptation is simply physical, but it truly begins emotionally.

5 Emotional Boundaries Every Leader Needs to Build: 

 1. Avoid talking heart-to-heart with other women besides your spouse.
I will talk and encourage girls but then connect them to a trusted female leader for further counsel. As leaders, our heart should be in pursuit of our spouse with reckless abandonment. Build healthy boundaries that support your families, especially your spouse.

2. Avoid the pressure to make a quick decision based on momentary feeling. 
Emotional decisions are usually fast. They are impulsive and without discretion that take a long time to clean up.
I try to ask the questions, “Is this worth spending my emotional energy?” or “Will I regret what I’m about to do, in an hour?”

3. Stop worrying about things we cannot control. 
Emotional conversations are usually without thought and usually include gossip and slander. Control is an illusion anyway.
When I feel the urge to complain or become angry, I’m trying to learn to surrender it to God.

4. Ministry does not define me.
We all want to succeed in ministry. But, at the end of the day, our identity is found IN Jesus and not through our ministry job. I’m a follower of Jesus first, then I’m a pastor. This truth helps me process the good or bad days of ministry.
If someone praises you, let it go to God and not your head. We are the instruments of God, and He deserves praise.

5. Always Forgive.
In ministry, we will face hurt. Jesus taught us to forgive and through His strength we can live free of bitterness. Bitterness eats away our passion for people, because we are reliving a moment in time over and over in our mind. A lack of forgiveness in a leader’s heart eventually saps them dry and leads them to look for sinful choices to fill the hurt. Forgive no matter what someone has said or done to you. Remember, we will never have to forgive anyone more than how much Jesus has forgiven us.

When our emotions and thoughts are in line with the Holy Spirit, then you will see clarity and peace.

How important do you think emotional boundaries are in ministry? In your life, where have you set emotional boundaries?

I’d like to hear your thoughts! 

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://www.theyouthministryblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/joshrobinson.png[/author_image] [author_info]Josh is the student pastor at Church @ The Springs in Ocala, Florida (www.thesprings.net). Josh has served in student ministry for 9+ years and has a passion to lead students to imitate Christ and influence the world! He has a personal blog at http://joshrobinson.cc[/author_info] [/author]

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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