Being in Ministry can be rough. I initially started this post out as being a Youth Pastor is tough, but having grown up the son of a Pastor and a brother of a Missionary, Youth Pastor, Children’s Pastor, and someone very active in leadership with MOPS, I know that its not just Youth Ministry that is tough.
My heart has been breaking for Ministers the last few days / weeks as I read more and more blog posts about issues in the church, most that don’t even necessarily come from those we minister to, but from those who are supposed to be our partners.
One of my favorite quotes from Mike Yaconelli goes something like ” I am in awe of youth workers, and I think Jesus is too. I just wish the church felt the same.”
I remember in college and a lot of youth ministry books I have read, they always deal with facing the challenges that come with working with parents, because just about every youth worker, I’m sure, has dealt with this.
But the reality for today, I feel, is that the greater challenges come from the Sr. Pastor, or board of Elders. Any number of blogs could be found dealing with the frustrations of Youth Pastors who for whatever reason can’t seem to find harmony with their superiors. And it breaks my heart. I know it breaks God’s heart, too, because this is not what he intended “ministry” to look like.
We are supposed to be able to lock arms with our superiors to fight evil in our communities. We are supposed to be able to be partners in working to bring about Life-change in our neighborhoods. We are supposed to be able to work together.
But the painful truth is that many churches in this country aren’t able to.
And I don’t think there is any “across the board” solution other than deep soul searching by both parties, and an honest conversation with God.
Because in some cases, the Pastor may be the one holding it all back with his arrogance or pride, being set in his ways.
Still, in others, the Youth Pastor really is just a young renegade who saw how one church was doing things and now thinks that if a church isn’t doing it that same way, they are wrong and old fashioned.
Whatever it may be though, many of our peers our hurting. If you are one of those youth workers lucky enough to love your church where you are serving, you have no problem calling it home, and you love working with your superiors, then be thankful for it, and pray for our comrades.
If you are one of those hurting, who has reached the point where Ministry isn’t fun anymore, its not worth it anymore, you know your called to serve but you can’t serve where you are for much longer because it is sucking the life out of you, I’d love to talk, I’d love to connect in some way and share stories and hear your frustrations. Because honestly, sometimes just letting them off our chest to someone else who can relate makes it possible to stay another week, believe me I have been there before.
But know this – God has a plan. I know we all know this. I know we tell our students this constantly. But we have to hold on to that hope that even in the messed up circumstances Youth Pastors can sometimes be in, God is at work.