Feeling stuck in a church and wanting out is one of the most common feelings among Youth Pastors in America, I would argue. I mean look at all the coverage the topic of leaving churches gets. Im guilty of this feeling, probably one of the guiltiest.
If you have followed my blog for the past few months you may remember that august/september were not good months for me. I’ve deleted the posts, but I prayed earnestly for several weeks for God to give me direction on whether or not to leave.
Having grown up in mainly large churches with my Dad as a Sr. Pastor, churches of anywhere from 1000 to 4500, I got used to what its like doing ministry in that sort of context. I still feel like thats where I would thrive the best, maybe even just a church of 4 or 5 hundred would be better.
But it hit me tonight, is the grass really greener in those larger pastures? Sure, doing ministry in a bigger church is fine and dandy. With the extra resources, the youth already in the church to draw from, a variety of people to choose from to try and bring on as volunteers, and on and on and on. I could give you a hundred benefits of working in a larger church.
But I also know a couple of things about God. One big thing for this topic is that he doesn’t call us to be comfortable. Honestly, if this was the case, I would have never changed from a Political Science Major to a Youth Ministry major with a year left until graduation. Jr. Highers very easily get on my nerves. I can give a speech in front of hundreds of people, but I get nervous leading a small group of 5 9th and 10th grade boys. Maybe its because, as one of my professors said, “If your a pilot and you mess up, a hundred people die. Big whoop. If your a pastor and you mess up, a hundred or so people go to hell.”
Take an honest look at your current ministry situation and consider how bad it really is. Sure, it may not be easy, but would it be any easier in a bigger church or a different church for that matter?
Sure, right now im struggling with another youth group trying to steal some of my kids. But if I am honest, praise God that those kids are interested in being IN a youth group to begin with.
Sure, I dont get paid alot. But in the area I live in, I dont need much more than what I get.
Yeah, it would be nice if the majority of my church wasnt over the age of 60, but hey, those old ladies have said some of the most encouraging words to me that I have ever heard.
And ok, my Sr. Pastor doesnt have a sense of humor ANYwhere near like mine. But he loves God and wants to see me succeed in my ministry no matter what.
So I guess what it boils down to is to take another look at your current position. It’s one thing if your position is literally unhealthy for you and your family to stay at for another week. But if its just the idea that you can thrive somewhere else more so than where you are at, ask yourself the question and think about it for a month, what is keeping you from thriving where you are at? What can you change to make it so you can thrive here?
Odds are, your church wants to see you thrive. They wouldn’t hire you to see you fail. Make a list of things you think would help and talk them over with some key people. Some things you can’t change, like how many families with youth are members at your church, but others you can.
In the end, I pray you will see that the grass in the pasture God has assigned to you for this season is pretty green, and somewhere out there sits a Youth Pastor who would DIE to have it as easy as you do right now.