If you have been in youth ministry for any amount of time you have probably questioned whether or not you should be in youth ministry. There are no shortage of tough days and moments of doubt. If you are in one of those moments now check out one of these posts, When You Want To Quit, Dealing With Disappointing Days In Ministry, An Ode To Youth Workers, You CAN Do It.
But sometimes it really is time to move on. Youth ministry isn’t for everyone, and sometimes things change. So, when is it time to step out of youth ministry and move on? How do you know if that time is now? Here are a few signs to let you know if it is time…
1. You don’t have a passion for students
This is the number 1 reason you know it is time to step out of youth ministry. It surprises and baffles me every single time I hear a youth pastor say that they don’t really have a passion for students, and oddly enough, I hear it a lot.
“I don’t really have a passion for students exactly, I am just doing youth until God calls me to something else.” Honestly, that might be God calling. You may totally be called to ministry, and I am not questioning that but if you do not have a passion for students then it is time to move out of youth ministry.
“But that is the only ministry opening right now.” Maybe it is, but being in an area of ministry that you are not passionate about just to say that you are in ministry is only doing yourself and the ministry a disservice. There are always ministry opportunities and there is always an opportunity somewhere to operate inside of your passions. But if students are not one of those passions it is time to step out and move on.
2. When you could be just as fulfilled doing something else
A few years ago I was in a very tough spot in ministry. I had parted ways with a church and was at a crossroads as to whether or not I should even be in ministry. As I wrestled with what direction my future would take I had a mentor tell me this. “If there is anything else you could possibly do and be fulfilled then do it.” Ministry is tough and youth ministry specifically is extremely tough, if there is something else that you could do and be as fulfilled then do it!
I think this question is very important when it comes to knowing when it is time to step out of youth ministry. For me, honestly there is nothing else that I feel I could do right now either within the church or outside the church that would be as fulfilling as youth ministry. That is where God has called me and that is where my passion is. Ask yourself, what else could you do that would be as, or more, fulfilling. Maybe it is time to pursue it.
3. When your okay with not giving it 100%
I am not talking about simply a loss of motivation, which if you are experiencing check out Finding Motivation When It Is Gone. But I am talking more about just going through the motions of youth ministry and being completely fine with it. If squeaking by on as little as you can is your game it may be time to move on to a different ministry because your passion is gone, or move out of ministry. Students are worth your 100% and if you are okay with giving them less than that it may be a sign.
Ministry can be difficult to navigate and sometimes stepping down or out is the right choice. Hopefully these signs can help you determine if it is time to step out of youth ministry. It is never an easy to make big decision like stepping out, but sometimes it is the best for you and for the ministry.
Todd has been in youth ministry for over 10 years and has a passion for reaching lost students and training youth workers to do the same. He is the founder of Stoked On Youth Ministry, a speaker, author, and pastor. When Todd is not writing or speaking he enjoys surfing, baseball and most importantly hanging out with his awesome wife and three beautiful daughters. You can connect with Todd on Twitter @TheTodd_Jones, Instagram @Todd_Jones or for speaking inquiries visit TheToddJones.com