don't leave too soon

Why Youth Pastors Leave Around the 2-3 Year Mark

don't leave too soonIf I have heard it once, I have heard it a thousand times. “Please pray for us, after a difficult ________ years we feel the Lord leading us to leave our current ministry position.” Does God lead us away and to new places? YES! Does God do this over and over and over every 2 – 3 years? I cannot say for certain. I do feel though that we give God a lot of credit and blame for things that are simply our doing. While I certainly recognize there are legitimate reasons and circumstances for leaving, I think most Youth Pastors who leave, leave too soon. The heartbreaking part is that if most Youth Pastors would stay they would find such tremendous joy in their ministries. The hard truth is that it takes time to build a ministry and really become “their” pastor. Here are 5 reasons I think most guys leave too soon:

No long-term plan

You cannot make it up as you go. You must have a vision for the ministry that you are leading and you must have a plan to carry out that vision. This does not happen without prayer and it doesn’t happen on accident.

Too much too fast

Too many changes without clear communication and buy in of vision will quickly derail a ministry. This will also leave you frustrated, discouraged, confused, and even angry at times. Start with the end in mind. Meet people where they are and lead them.

Not taking time to build relationships

Planning a lot of events and playing a lot of games is not the same as intentionally building relationships. You must take time to build relationships with leaders, parents, other staff, your pastor, and your students. Without these you will be doomed for failure and frustration. There will be little room for mistakes and failure (which you will have), and no real love for the people you serve.

Disillusioned of how difficult ministry really is

Ministry is more difficult than you can imagine prior to doing it. If you knew how hard it really was…you would never agree to do it.

Greener pastures that aren’t really greener…just more of the same

What lies on the other side is more of the same generally. Every church and ministry is made up of people. People who just like you are fallen and sinful. People who desperately need grace, mercy, patience, and to be loved. It may look better, easier, prettier, but in the end you will find more of the same.

Do you agree? What other reasons do you think? Leave a comment below and share!

Photo credit: Kerem Tapani / Foter.com / CC BY-ND

  • I think these are great points but sometimes you are asked to leave because of circumstances outside of your control. People make decisions for you and blame those decisions on God’s “will” when really it just goes to serve their own needs & wants.

    • I agree Matthew. There is always the potential for outside circumstances that may derail longevity. The important thing I believe is to be committed yourself for the long run and not look for an easy exit when things get tough. In any case though, we must trust that in the end God will use all things for good, and we must remain faithful to His calling on our lives.