Here is an old idea for encouragement in ministry. A long time ago, (I’ve been doing student ministry over 30 years), in a youth leaders conference the leader of the conference suggested that each of us create a blue file folder. The purpose of this folder was to put all the notes that parents or teens would write to you that gave encouragement to you in ministry. The speaker went on to say that there would be times when you are having a really bad time in ministry and opening the file and reading those notes would help revive you as you realize how many ways God has used you in the lives of some teens and parents of teens.
For years I have kept that file going. It is in the left hand bottom drawer of my current desk and yes the file is actually blue. There are days that pulling out that file and looking through it has been needed to keep up the hope that better days are coming. I am still a little “old school” and sometimes I now have to print digital notes of encouragement onto paper to place them in the file.
Today things are a little different than 30 years ago with email, texting, snapchat and whatever else is just around the corner. This does not negate the need for a “Blue File”. So, even if your file is digital, you will have days you need a blue file. Take time to design how you will make a blue file, digital or physical. Begin to log things in or file things as God uses you in the life of students.
What do you put in this file? Put encouraging emails, texts, facebook posts or cards that say thanks to you for being there for a teen or parent. List all the people who are in ministry because of your influence as their youth pastor. Add journal entries from you as you see God work in the life of a student in your ministry. The main focus is not so much about you in the life of a student, but how God has used you in the life of a student.
The development of a blue file may seem senseless at the beginning. The stories you place in the file will be fresh in your mind and you may think, “why do I need to write this down”, but years later, those stories and encouraging notes will fade from your memory. Then, discouragement will come, and trust me discouragement will come, that is when you close your office door, pull out your blue file folder and read how God has used you over the years. The longer you are in ministry the richer this file becomes. The longer you work on this, the sweeter the review days will be. It is well worth the effort and over the years I have pulled out my blue file and looked through all that God has done through me many times. Take time today and make that file a priority. You will thank yourself years from now that you have this available.