Ministry can be frustrating.
Sometimes it comes from leadership. It may not be that you really mind being told to go out to visit little Ms Betty. I mean, she’s 93, went to your church before you became the youth pastor there, has been actively attending another church for the last two decades, was a founding member of your congregation (literally), and her great-grandkids occasionally come to your outreach events. You know, Steven. The red headed kid. The other one. Yeah him.
She’s at the hospital having foot surgery…and SOMEONE from your church ought to go visit her. The pastor is busy, but you’re not. It’s only Wednesday. What are you up to, right?
Sometimes it comes from parents. It’s not so much that they weren’t aware the deposit for summer camp was due last week. It’s not their fault they didn’t see the bulletin. Or the announcement slide. Or the Facebook post. Or Instagram. Or Tweet. Or email. They think they remember getting the Youth Newsletter in the real mail, but they were busy. Can their student sign-up late and go on the already packed trip? Please? Just this once (for the third time).
Sometimes, it’s the students. Yeah, so playing dodgeball in the gym was your idea, but playing dodgeball in the children’s wing hallway was the pastor’s kid’s idea. The only thing that got broken was a vase, given in honor of Ms. Betty, the founding member, by her children, who recently decided to come back to your church and visit.
“Hey where’d that vase we gave you guys go?”
Yeah, sometimes ministry is frustrating.
Here’s what I do when I get frustrated:
Not of ministry, just the office. A little fresh air generally is wonderful for the uber-stressed. Go take a walk at a park. Spend time in the sun. Is the weather not cooperating? Find an excuse to make a supply run to your local store. A very long supply run. I eventually find a reason to grab something made out of ice cream during said run.
Hang With Students
Assuming you’re not frustrated with them, find a reason to hang with students. Take some leaders or disconnected kids out for a quick coke break. Go see a game of theirs that happens right after school. See if they have a minute to go on that supply run with you (but be nice and pick them up an ice cream too).
Change Your Perspective
Your pastor probably is much busier than you. That parent’s schedule would drive you nuts. And that student probably ACTUALLY thought it would be a cool idea to throw dodge balls in the hallway. Take a moment and try to see it from their angle.
Call A Buddy
Do you have some other ministry buddies who live in a different state (or at least a different part of town)? Great. Give them a call and scream at them for a minute. It’s not them you’re frustrated at. And as long as you have a standing agreement that you’ll return the favor of being yelled at in time, I’m sure they won’t mind. You might even laugh at the circumstances (maybe).
Preferably not people though. Try golf balls. Or the batting range. Or mow the lawn. Or go for a run. I’ve found that exercising when I’m frustrated helps me clear my head and feel better about the situation at hand. Added bonus of actually improving your health while you’re frustrated.
Ministry is frustrating, but that’s because you work with people who (guess what) often act like sinful people. You do it to. And that’s ok. But the next time someone is frustrated with you, remember that they may take a swing to deal with their stress as well (hopefully just not at your face).