I have a confession to make: I am an energy/caffeine addict. I love getting a quick fix and feeling fully alive (John 10.10). I guess I am just trying to live out a Biblical life in youth ministry.
I have chugged many energy drinks (Monster, Redbull, Rockstar, AMP energy) that are loaded with sugar and carbohydration. I would get a quick fix and crash hard. Back in Nov ’09 I started having heart palpitations because of youth ministry stress and consuming high amounts of caffeine. Basically my heart said no more. So I had to rethink how to cut caffeine out and brainstorm new ways to feel energetic without chugging redbulls before youth group.
Ministering in youth ministry requires a lot of emotional and spiritual energy. Just the other day someone asked me: How do you get an enough energy to do youth ministry?
One of the biggest potential downers of running a youth ministry program is not having an enough energy to make it from start to finish. All the planning, meeting, praying, studying is done and now you are on with no energy. I would get so frustrated because my youth ministry team and I would plan so hard and the start of youth group would come and I would feel extremely exhausted. Or I would be preaching and I would run out of gas half way through the sermon.
I am going to highlight how to have explosive energy when trying to:
– be productive in your youth ministry office
– pull a youth ministry all nighter
– preach the gospel
– lead a youth ministry program or event.
Here are my tricks on how to feel alive (without the sugar/carbohydrates) when leading a youth ministry program:
1. Provide your body with the core nutrients it really needs: 1) Drink more water by adhering to this guideline: Drink half your body weight in ounces every day. If you weigh 200 pounds, drink 100 ounces of water. 2) Exercise 3 times a week in the morning, 3) Breathe great unpolluted oxygen, and 4) Take vitamins and minerals.
2. Take Vitamin B-6 and B-12 because they unlock energy in your food storage
3. Get more ginseng because it reduces stress and chronic fatigue – Ginseng is well known to have energy boosting agents. It builds resistance to stress and boost energy. A ginseng supplement can be added to tea which will greatly improve energy.
4. Listen to Music That Pumps You Up – My favorite pre-youth group songs that I would listen to: Jump Around (House of Pain), I’ve Got The Power (Snap), and Splinter (Sevendust)
5. Immersion In Natural Light – Your body needs vitamin D to help with nutrient absorption which will unlock energy.
6. Reduce Acidic Foods- Avoid all fast food restaurants.
7. XS Energy Drinks – XS doesn’t contain sugar, it is loaded with B vitamins, and doesn’t contain caffeine. I know the CEO of this product because he attended our church in Laguna Beach. He is a sharp guy and knows what he is doing when it comes to engineering a quality energy drink. He wanted to design an energy drink that allows for explosive energy while tasting good without any sugar. To check out XS products click here. I have had much success with this product and took cases of XS with me for junior high and high school winter camp.
8. Eat Berries- Eat red, blue, and purple berries. These berries contain anthocyanins which is a powerful energy booster.
9. Have A Pre-Youth Group Snack- a small healthy snack that is low in sugar, has a lot of protein and fiber a couple hours before youth group can help you finish the day off strong. Some suggestions:
- mixed nuts (for example trail mix. Special forces are encouraged to consume high amounts of trail mix when they need endurance in high attitudes.)
- nonfat yogurt
- apple and peanut butter
- frozen berrie smoothie
- trail mix
- granola bar
10. Drink 8oz of Diet Coke a hour before youth group – When there are high amounts of caffeine intakes you get jitteriness, nervousness, insomnia, headaches, dizziness, and gas aka the farts. If you monitor a healthy caffeine intake of 3mg per body weight you will still get the energy minus the side effects. For example: If you weighed 150lbs you can consume 70-210mg of caffeine. If you want to read more about this click here.
11. I would avoid drinking coffee before a nightly youth group program or event- Coffee not only dehydrates you, but also will inject a lot of caffeine in you 4-6 hours before bed time, which may cause insomnia. However I am not against drinking coffee in the morning. Just load up with coffee between the hours of 5am to 10am.
The students in your youth ministry need you to be aware, alert, alive, available, and enthusiastic. With a few simple changes you can give yourself the gift of explosive energy to make youth group last for eternity. Youth group will be great and you will naturally feel great!!
Please feel free to add some of your natural energy boosting tricks in the comment section. I am always looking for new ways to get energy minus the sugar and carbohydration. By the way, I have tested all these tricks………
12. Ohh I almost forgot: Prayer is another huge piece to obtaining enough strength and energy to get through youth group! My simple pray was right out of Psalm 29.11: “Lord give me strength to make it through tonight, amen!”