I remember it like it was yesterday. I reflected on the past five years in youth ministry. How much time, energy, money have I put in, how many sacrifices have I made to be there every Friday night with a new program? (Okay, I wasn’t alone…I was part of a bigger team.) And now I should leave?
I had to make a very difficult choice: Letting go of the youth ministry (I so loved) because of other (great and new) commitments and opportunities.
Many questions were spinning in my mind… What would happen to the teenagers and to the other leaders? Would I be missed? Is it the right decision and the right time? Am I ready to take on a new challenge?
Have you experienced a similar situation? It was hard but I had to make a choice—the right choice—to let go. What really helped me was an advice I gained at a leadership conference:
There are different stages in your ministry –
1. Build up (start a new ministry because God shows you where he is busy)
2. Sustain (make sure that it does not die; look for firm foundations)
3. Develop further (recognize, nurture and guide young leaders)
4. Hand over (give the responsibility to others at the right time)
After almost five years I was at the last point, and for me personally it was the hardest stage. I knew there were enough leaders to carry on the good work. It was just difficult to let go, but looking back it was the right thing to do. The youth ministry is still growing strong—without me.
If you are in a similar situation evaluate yourself and reflect on these questions:
- Are you so important that the ministry will fail without you?
- Don’t you trust God to keep on blessing what he started?
- Are you maybe in the way for further development of the ministry?
- Is there actually another task waiting for you that will need your full attention?