Why youth leaders need to stop eating out so much

So how much do braces cost? 
I don't know about you, but as a youth worker with a family of 5, we eat out too much! I was looking at my Quicken budget and hundreds of dollars a month have been going to dining out. Often it's because we are too busy at church and need a quick and easy meal on the way to or from youth ministry events. Plus how many times do you get invited to lunch with students or co-workers? How many Starbucks or 7-11 runs do you do with students? LOTS! Why do youth leaders need to stop eating out? Let me give you a few reasons.

Baby=$$ but worth every penny!
1) Cost. Our cost of living with a growing family has gone up and up. Many churches have instituted salary freezers or staff reductions due to the current economic climate. My paycheck needs to go a lot further these days. Having added a baby to the family, our cost of living has definitely increased at least 20%. Plus grocery costs have skyrocketed and our medical insurance and car insurance premiums have increased as well. So if you are like me, we need to cut back on the eating out. Or budget needs trimming and food is one expense I have some control over. Plus now I have a kid in braces! There went $500 bucks down and $72 bucks a month for the next 18 months. Thankfully my husband gets annual raises, but with taxes and insurance premiums, it doesn't make too much of a difference.

2) Not a fat youth leader. My weight watcher efforts have been on pause for a few months. I haven't gained weight, but I haven't lost any either. Mostly due to too much pizza at youth group events and eating out too much. Oh yeah...Red Vines at the Drive In Movies! (-;  Eating out usually equals too many calories. If you are a youth worker surrounded by candy and pizza, you might struggle with weight. Why do so many ministry events  and staff meetings seem to involve food? I am determined to get my game on and get these extra baby/youth ministry pounds off. I want to be a healthy youth worker to keep up with my students and be a great example to my own kiddos. Plus summer camp and swim and studies are so much more fun when I am healthy, lean, and not embarrassed to be seen in a swimsuit!

3) Table Time is Ministry Time! Our dinner table represents vital ministry time with my own flesh and blood. We pray together. We pick out one Christmas Card from the past year or a missionary support letter and take time to pray for someone at meal time. We share highs and lows. We talk about the day. We share what God is teaching us at church or youth group. We laugh. We pass the rude rabbit to each other and learn table manners. When we eat at home together we are reminded that no one is in the hospital (nothing like unexpected hospital stays to throw off dinner routines), no one is laying in bed ill, mom is not on a youth ministry trip, and all is right in the world. We are all there. Together. Sometimes we fight and get grumpy at the dinner table and learn a lot about patience and undeserved grace. Spaghetti sauce is spilled on the carpet. More lessons on grace and the miracles of oxiclean.  We giggle and sometimes laugh so hard we fart (and get the rude rabbit).  My children learn life skills like how to cook and how to set the table. They eat vegetables and learn how to carry on a conversation without texting. Dinner can be the most important ministry you do all week.


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