Becky Gilbert "Guard Your Day Off" #WomenInYM

becky gilbert.jpg

Key Takeaway: Guard Your Day Off

A lock-in confirmed my calling to youth ministry.

I swapped my major for youth ministry You can’t top events for building relationships.

Even though they are in your youth ministry they are not your kids, have some patience with parents

“Remember we are not confronting parents, we are partnering parents”

“More doesn’t always lead to better it leads to burn out”

“It’s okay to guard your day, it’s okay to have a day off”

Episode Transcript

Zac: 00:12 Hey everybody, welcome back to another special episode of the Youth Ministry booster podcast. This is our fifth one for women and Youth Ministry, and today we're featuring Becky Gilbert, youth ministry veteran and wonderful wise counsel for anybody that's been in youth ministry for a minute or anybody that's starting out in youth ministry that wants to remember that some of the things that are most important relate to your own health and youth ministry, not just what you're doing for your students. It has been so much fun and we thank you so much for the feedback we received already. If you've been enjoying this emphasis for October of Hashtag women, Yam, share your thoughts, share your feedback. Share one of your favorite women in Youth Ministry. Simply go on twitter or instagram. Write a post, share a pick for Hashtag women in Iam. It's our fun month long emphasis, celebration and encouragement for all those amazing women that serve in youth ministry part time, full time by bi-vocational volunteer.

Zac: 01:10 However you're serving, we are thankful for you, which is why we have the giveaway, so make sure to go to [inaudible] dot com slash giveaway. Giving away a year booster and a subscription box a year because the only thing better than a gift once as a gift all year round, and so there's several to choose from. A lot of folks that have been nominating their friends, a lot of folks have been nominating their spouses and so if you are a woman in youth ministry or know of one, make sure to enter you can win and share that gift with one of your favorites or on an interview today. Again, Chad Higgins, sitting down with Becky Gilbert, talking about youth ministry for the long haul and how becky is indeed most of all team lock in. I know you're gonna. Enjoy this interview. Way Back at the end to fill in any gaps. Thanks for listening.

Becky: 01:56 Oh, and welcome to the youth ministry booster podcast. We are here with Rebecca Hall Gilbert. I'll let you dive in, tell us a little bit about yourself, what you want to be known as, and uh, and then tell us a little bit about how you got into student ministry and what that looks like. Most people call me becky. Rebecca is my formal name, but most people call me Becky. Well, we're just, we're just meeting each other, so I didn't want to like jump in and start giving you a nickname. No problem. Well, I have been doing youth ministry for over 20 years. Um, so it's been a huge part of my life. Um, I, I remember being involved in youth group when I was a youth group age. I've been in church my whole life. That part of my story is probably very familiar to a lot of people.

Becky: 02:57 My parents took us to church Sunday, Wednesday, every time the doors were open and um, we went to youth group, we did lock ins, we did mission trips, all of that kind of stuff that's still going on in youth group. Um, about the time that I was in 11th grade though, I started noticing the difference between what some of the church people that I had grown up with and how they lived. And so it was kind of at that point when I started wondering what really our faith was about and what kind of this church thing was about. And I asked a lot of questions and um, unfortunately I grew up in a church where those questions were not appreciated. Um, you know, questions about, you know, why, why are we prone to worship on Sunday and then do other things on Monday and Tuesday and the rest of the days.

Becky: 03:58 and so it was a struggle for me and I found more acceptance at that time with like my friends that went to parties and stuff like that. And so for a little time, uh, I still went to church. I was in the youth choir. I got up on Sundays and a saying in the youth choir and went to parties on Friday night and Saturday night. And I'm really just kind of lived that whole double church life that unfortunately, what I've come to find out is that a lot of youth a, do you kind of have that dual role that they, that they play. And, um, it wasn't until I started college that I got into a group with some accountability where people sort of said you need to either be all in or not at all because that's what one of the things that makes the church look bad because, so, you know, we're not, we're not all in a for Christ.

Becky: 05:00 And so I was like, okay. And, um, I made some decisions and then put that, put Jesus first. Um, I, I don't consider myself as that I was a non Christian at that time, just really questioning more than anything else. Um, so I had some friends that were volunteer youth ministry people and during college and they invited me to come to a lock in. And so I was like, sure, why not? And I went to that lock in and spent the entire night with a group of about five or six girls who were going through the exact same thing that I went through when I was a junior and a senior and really connected with them talking about how I felt and how I worked through that. And some of the issues that I had, um, and it was at that point that I really saying, wow, maybe there is something to this, maybe there's something to a youth ministry in the church.

Becky: 06:04 And it was kind of at that point when I started a hearing, you know, God's saying, go this way, go this way, this is what you should be doing. And um, from then on, that's what I did. And I got into youth ministry voluntarily during college, changed my major. I was a music major. I wanted to be the next Amy Grant. Probably half the people don't even know who that is now, but that's, that's what I wanted to do. And um, I changed my major to Viv clinical studies. And then after college I pursued a degree in Christian ed, uh, and continued in youth ministry and still have been doing that basically my whole adult life.

Chad: 06:54 You're the poster child for the student ministry lock in. How do you currently now, having been in student ministry for 20 years, how do you feel about these logins now?

Becky: 07:08 , they are much more difficult to recover, but we still do them. I've, I've seen a huge change. I know a lot of people are antilock in, no, never, never. But um, for me, I've always found them to be really an awesome way to bond with students and for the students to bond with each other that, you know, that long period of time of staying up late night talks and things like that, uh, retreats and lock ins and camp. You can't be those for that bonding know, just getting to know students on a deeper level so it has a purpose even. That's right.

Chad: 07:51 Yeah. Well, I love that. I love your story. I love how it almost feels like. I mean the church was always around, right? Like I was obviously doing something for your life even through those, um, you know, seasons where you may feel far away from him. And I love those because I'll be honest, my story is almost identical to yours as well. And, and I think, I think God uses some of us rambunctious kids for his glory. So, so 20 years of student ministry, this is going to be like an impossible question. Give me like one moment.

Becky: 08:37 That is one of your favorites. Oh my gosh. When I first, I had a lot of volunteer experience. Then when I graduated seminary and had my first full time grownup, I'm in charge kind of youth ministry job. Uh, it was at this church in the Midwest and they would go to camp. And so my first big time of, of spending time with students was at this camp and um, at the beginning they were trying to get everybody organized and stuff and, and they were like, uh, okay. Becky's kids and they were talking about the campers that were in my cabin, which we're all children of the youth helped with the camp, but all of the youth, I had only been there maybe like a month. And all of the youth who were there helping stood up to follow me. And the one of the mothers of the youth was like, oh my gosh.

Becky: 09:37 She said, I can't believe they're already, you know, bonding with you and ready to follow you wherever you go. And so that was like really special, you know, to be there my first time and, and just have that encouragement from a parent that, that saw the students taking that leadership and an understanding they were part of something that we were doing together. So that was, that was awesome. The parent, um, you know, it's awesome to have encouragement from the youth, but a lot of times in youth ministry we maybe give parents a little bit harder wrap than they should get and sometimes they are, but sometimes they're the ones that really are there supporting us and giving us that encouragement. And it was just kind of like, um, solidifying that call and like, yes, I was in the right place doing the right thing. Um, and at that point I was just like, wow, that's really cool.

Chad: 10:40 for some of our listeners that are maybe in student ministry that feel like right now their relationship with some of the parents in their church or that their students are in their ministry that may feel rocky for them right now, what encouragement or advice would you give that person?

Becky: 10:59 , I think we've all made mistakes in ministry and one of the things that has been difficult is just partnering with the parents. Um, parents are, you know, they are trying to advocate for their youth. They're trying to navigate for many of them, a new season of life, having youth, teenagers that are trying to break away from them and, and get into this whole, uh, going on trips without their mom and dad and, and stuff like that. That's just really difficult for people to, to let go sometimes. And sometimes we, as youth pastors look at that and we're like, cheese, would they just come on already? And so maybe just having some patients, uh, with, with parents and I, I've been through that, that whole, well, if they were my kids I would blah, blah blah. You know, we've all, we've all thought it. Even if we haven't said it out loud, we've all thought and having the, um, just maybe taking a step back from the situations and saying, but they're not my kids, you know, the, the parent and just trying to talk to the parents and say, how can we do this together?

Becky: 12:18 the parents are not our adversaries. They're not really trying to, you know, topple our youth ministry or anything like that. So just really, I think sometimes we kind of go into it with that mindset that we're going to have to be confrontational with everyone and instead say, no, we're not confronting, we're partnering, we're working together as a team. Um, and if, if that someone would have said that to me like 15 years ago, I think it would have been really encouraging and really helpful at the time. Pretend we have a time machine back in time and have a sit down coffee or chai or whatever you like to drink with first year becky in student ministry. Oh man, I can't, I can't promise that you're going to listen to you. What would you tell yourself? I'm a, I think that the time that I started out in ministry, late nineties, early two thousands, was really one of those times when youth ministry was kind of like at its heyday and we were super concerned with numbers, super concerned with how many activities we were doing, do more, be more, go more places, have more kids, have more stuff, have more and more and more and more.

Becky: 13:54 And um, that did lead me to some times close to burnout, uh, because we were always trying to do more stuff, always trying to, to add lauren and I would sit down and say, listen, it's okay to guard your day off. It's okay to have a day off. Um, it's, it's actually not just okay. It's super important to have that time to be quiet and be still before God to listen for direction of where you're supposed to be going more and doing more and not, not just taking that on yourself. Um, but I think that for a while in youth ministry that was kind of the trend and that even our leadership of churches, I'm sort of encouraged that if we were so busy, oh, must mean things are going well, not necessarily, um, and so, so really taking that time not to neglect the ministry, not to leave out things that are important, but to make sure that you care for your soul and just, you know, really take that time to listen for God. I'm into just step back and rest when it's necessary. Um, and that was something that I neglected for a long time.

Chad: 15:19 Yeah. Well, I think for our listeners, whether you're in your first year in student ministry or Your Twentieth Year of student ministry, that's probably really, really good advice. Um, and, and so, Becky, I want to thank you so much for being on our show today. I know that, um, I've only really got to speak to you here online for like 30 minutes. Uh, but I just want to encourage you that I hear such patience and wisdom in the way that you speak. And, uh, and so I thank you for your 20 years of service in student ministry and I'm thankful for people like yourself that dedicate your life to the gospel and to these crazy students that we love so much.

Becky: 16:06 Right? Right. Well, thank you for having us on and for a, you know, highlighting women, uh, at this time in ministry. It's, it's important for, for us to know that God calls all of us to ministries, whatever they are and that we need to live into those and lean in and listen for what he's calling us to do.

Chad: 16:29 Well, thank you so much and thanks for tuning into youth ministry booster you today. We want you to check out tomorrow as we have another fantastic woman onto tell us about their experience in student ministry.

Zac: 16:47 Are. There you go. That's our interview with Becky Gilbert or Beckylg on If you want to get more info from her about what she's got going in her youth ministry, or send a word of thanks or encouragement or the insight and encouragement she shared with us today. Becky, we are thankful for the powerful words that you shared today and for everybody else listening, if you liked what you heard today and one to not miss any more episodes coming out almost every day in October, make sure to hit the subscribe button, rate and review if you would, but don't miss another amazing day for Hashtag women and youth ministry all October long as we celebrate and encourage and appreciate the women that are making youth ministry. Awesome.