The Three Kinds of Relationships That Fill Up Our Days


by Matt Wilks

The ability to manage the different relationships you will face both inside and outside of the church will be a challenging juggling act for you. You will be faced both with people who long for a relationship with you and with others who will frustrate you as you try and build a relationship with them.

Many of the relationships you develop will lead to lifelong memories of people who stepped into the gap with you, or people who valued your contribution to their life. These people will make up the art of your life, a collection of images, stories and memories that define who you are. At the end of the day ministry is all about relationships and helping one another be all God has created each of us to be.

There are three groups of people who will come across the calendar notifications on your iphone on a regular basis. Take a moment to evaluate the different kinds of relationships that you have.

Draining Relationships
In ministry, the people who need extra grace will always find you. God will never give you more people who need extra care than what your ministry can handle. These people are some of the main reasons why your ministry exists, so try to never view them as a burden in your ministry.

The “draining” people in your life need to have boundaries that are clearly set for them by you. Make sure to have a set amount of time you will give to them each week and do not let them dominate your schedule.

The issue with draining people filling up your calendar is that you can end up depleting your relational tank, leaving you with nothing left to contribute to others (including yourself and those critical non-ministry relationships family and friends). Simply evaluate what percentage of your past week was spent with draining people.

Neutral Relationships
In our weekly routine of life, so much time is spent with neutral people. These types of people dominate our calendars and neither contribute or take away from our energy levels. The issue here is less about whether these relationships are life-draining or life-giving, but more about the quantity. Large expectations of time spent with neutral relationships can crowd out the space you need for live-giving relationships.

Evaluate your past week, what amount of time was spent with neutral people.

Refueling Relationships
Unfortunately in our ministry calendars, we often think of the need we have for meaningful relationships last. Our calendars are chock full of relationships where we give and give, yet very few relationships that will refuel us. These relationships are relationships that speak into who we are and give us the strength to work through the struggles that come into our weekly routine of being a youth worker.

A refueling relationship is a relationship where we leave with a smile on our face, or feeling full, and we feel ready to take on the challenges of the day. These relationships are not necessarily dependant on the quantity of time, but rather the quality of the time.

Refueling relationships are relationships we must proactively put into our calendar.

People have the ability to bring you the most joy as well as the most pain. As we deal with people, we open ourselves up to pain, rejection and frustration, but we also open ourselves up to joy, redemption, and restoration. You and I have been given the opportunity to be Jesus to a world that needs to see love and hope and a future. So monitor the mix of time you spend in these three kinds of relationships, so you are able to be your best self and give most productively.

My prayer for you
I am no longer my own but yours.
Put me to what you will.
Put me to doing, put me to suffering.
Let me be employed for you or laid aside for you,
Exalted for you or brought low for you.
Let me be full or let me be empty.
Let me have all things or let me have nothing.
I freely and wholeheartedly yield all things to Your disposal.
And now glorious and blessed Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
You are mine and I am yours.
So be it.
And the covenant now made on earth,
Let it be ratified in Heaven.
(John Wesley)