How to Guarantee Longevity in Youth Ministry

Youth ministry
What is the secret to longevity in youth ministry? (Lightstock)

Everybody likes guarantees, and in youth ministry there are few. But if you are hoping to stay involved in youth ministry in a local church setting for the long haul, I know the secret—the silver bullet—guaranteed:

Refuse to exit!

I've been traveling the local church youth ministry road for over 26 years, and there have been all sorts of times that I could have exited, "off-ramps" for which nobody would have argued if I would have taken them. But I refused to exit. And because I've simply refused to take an off ramp, I'm still on the road.

Some typical youth ministry off-ramps:

  • Graduating college and need a full-time role. Nobody would blame you for that.
  • Getting married and need to make more money. Nobody would blame you for that.
  • About to have first child and need a job with more regular hours.
  • Child No. 2 is on the way and my wife would like to work part-time.
  • Being burned by the church.
  • Feeling tired, on the edge of burnout.
  • Being successful and loved by the church so a "promotion" is offered.
  • Getting older and feeling a little out of touch.
  • Realizing how much money your friends in secular work make.
  • Failing, being fired or in someway becoming disqualified for a season.
  • The opportunity arises to teach, write or speak about YM full-time.

Why do men and women leave local church youth ministry? It's because they take an off ramp. There is nothing wrong with that.

Do you want to stay in youth ministry in a church setting for a long time? I can guarantee you a long youth ministry career in one simple step:

Refuse to exit!

Kurt Johnston leads the student ministries team at Saddleback Church in Southern California. His ministry of choice, however, is junior high, where he spends approximately 83.4 percent of his time.

For the original article, visit simplyyouthministry.com.

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