General Ministry
Josh Griffin

There are some tough times in youth ministry. If you haven’t experienced them yet, wait until about year four or so, where by then it will for sure meet you at the door. If you are doing effective, in the trenches ministry – there is going to come a time when you’ll feel like quitting. Honestly? I think no matter what kind of ministry you are doing you’ll eventually feel this way. No one is invincible from the urge to walk away. Here are the 3 times when I feel it the worst:

After the best event of your youth ministry career
When you are disconnected from the church, you are in danger. Have you ever come back from a mission trip on a high that no one else was on? Have you ever walked inside the church riding a high after the biggest overnighter in the history of your church only to be greeted be an angry parent or vindictive trustee? Maybe you’ve just given a project your all, and you saw God do something amazing, and you’re immediately called to lead something else and you were just hoping for a break. A key moment of vulnerability is when you are on top of the world.

After a key relational breakdown
There’s nothing worse than an intense conflict with your supervisor, senior pastor or key volunteer. When relationships go bad it becomes difficult to turn it off – instead just the opposite happens and it consumes us. Nothing hurts like when your friends leave you, when someone stabs you in the back, or when someone walks away from the church/God and blames it on you. The pain just doesn’t go away over night – often times it takes time or even a miracle to restore a relationship.

After a tough year
Sometimes it isn’t a key person, event or incident that triggers the feelings toward leaving – often times it is just the pile on effect of a tough season. A series of challenging moments, not enough to topple your strength by themselves, join forces together and can push me over the edge.

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How do I fight back? Another blog post for another time. All I will say for now is that while youth ministry has its challenging moments, it is worth it. You are making a difference. And on the other side of pain and the feelings to quit is a strength you may have never even known you had inside you. Fight the good fight, friends. How about you? Share your moment of weakness in the comments.


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  • cam says:

    After one of my students died in a car crash just one month after I was hired. I had no idea what to do, I had never been to a funeral before, never been in a situation that caused so much grief and mourning, and certainly didn’t know what to say to the students when they asked, ‘how could God let this happen?’

  • Geoff Cocanower says:

    Haven’t been in every situation, but can relate. Truth, Griff. Truth.

  • jenng says:

    I can totally relate to this post.
    I have a personal policy: Never quit on a bad day….If it’s a good day, and that nudge to move on is still there….it may be time to consider moving on.

  • Andy Lawrenson says:

    1. When I’m tired and worn out.
    2. When I watch someone I have invested my life into walk away from their faith.
    3. When I am around someone who rules their lives by their emotions and feelings and take it out on me.

  • steven says:

    In that place right now. I have been staff at my church for the last 9 years (actually been a part of the church for 16 yrs). We are going through the 2nd pastoral transition in 4 years. Seeing he faces of the kids that I’m closest to in our ministry keeps me motivated. I also rely VERY heavily on Galatians 6:9 and Hebrews 10:35-36 (NLT).

  • Chris Wesley says:

    I related with number 3, when you have a tough year. But sometimes I need to take a step back and ask, “When was my last true vacation?” Sometimes we just need to do a simple get away and be with God. I also can relate to what Andy Lawrenson said, when you see someone you poured into walk away it can hurt.

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