Wellness is the new buzzword right now and we should consider the implications it may have on youth ministry. Wellness implies a holistic approach to each unique individual. We will attempt to define wellness and flesh out the six areas of focus as well as how it impacts parenting and ministry to developing adolescents.
Wellness is a framework that can be used in many ways to help us organize, understand, and balance our own human growth and development. Everything we do, every decision we make, every thought we think, and every attitude and belief we hold fits into this framework made up of six basic concepts.
Social Wellness involves developing friendships, healthy sexual behaviors, the ability to interact comfortably with others and generally works for harmony in personal and community environments.
Romans 12:18 – “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”
Intellectual Wellness is the strong desire to learn from challenges and experiences. It encourages ongoing intellectual growth, and creative yet stimulating mental activities which provide the foundation to discover, process, and evaluate information.
Romans 12:2 – “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
Spiritual Wellness is the willingness to seek meaning and purpose in human existence; being sensitive to diverse multi-cultural beliefs and backgrounds that may conflict with ours. Being spiritually sound enables one to seek out the perfect harmony between that, which lies within one’s own spirit and our own behaviors.
James 1:23-25 – “Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does.”
Emotional Wellness is having the ability to acknowledge and accept a wide range of feelings in oneself as well as in others. It is being able to freely express and manage one’s own feelings to develop positive self-esteem in order to arrive at personal decisions based upon the integration of one’s beliefs and behaviors.
Luke 6:45 – “The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.”
Physical Wellness encourages regular physical activities, proper nutrition and health care, such as exercise or sports, and personal hygiene. This type of physical activity discourages dependence on tobacco, alcohol and other drugs (prescription or street).
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 – “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.”
Vocational Wellness focuses on the integration of various components of the wellness framework into planning for a healthy future, such as career, family and future wellness. It develops the understanding that decisions and values may change as new information and experiences are attained.
Psalm 34:7 – “Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.”
- a direction in which by its nature, moves our youth toward a more proactive, responsible and healthier existence.
- the integration of the body, mind, and spirit.
- the loving acceptance of the Father today and the exciting free search for who is He molding our students/children to become tomorrow.
- choice living; a compilation of the daily decisions that adolescents make that lead them to the person God desires them to become.
We (adults) have a vital role to play in the wellness of our children/students. We are to walk with them, in community, as fellow sojourners. Wellness will not just happen on its own. It, by our very nature, requires others to show us the way. To share their experience, strength, and hope that they too are caught up in the miraculous stream of the Holy Spirit that is leading them and guiding them on their journey toward reconciliation with the Father. And we a called to be a part of that. In the words of Mike Yaconelli, “What a ride!”