This post was actually written to be a part of the series “Part-Time Youth Pastor, Full-Time Hero,” that just wrapped up on Youthmin.org.” Due to a mix up it never got published, however, even though it is written with the part-time youth pastor in mind, we believe it still speaks volumes for those who work in full-time ministry. Thank you for the support and grace you give us!
As a part-time youth pastor, you make more sacrifices than someone who is in full-time ministry. You work two 40 hour jobs, you get paid very little, and you’re expected to do it with a smile; however, there comes a point where you have to consider what’s best for you and your family. This can be hard because of the baggage that comes with discerning whether you should leave or not. Baggage like, “Am I wimping out on my calling to this church?” “I owe it to my students to stay.” ‘Does this mean I’m not called to ministry?” “Or, will I never work in ministry again?” These are all valid concerns. Yet, after much prayer and counsel with godly men and women, you have to make a decision and pull the trigger. Here are five reasons to consider why you may need to leave your church.
You think you can do a better job than your pastor
God has called your pastor to be the spiritual leader of your church. Not you. Yet, no pastor is perfect, and sometimes there are pastors who get comfortable or struggle with leadership. When this happens it affects the entire church, including your ministry.
When you reach a point where you and your pastor don’t see eye-to-eye on vision and purpose, and you start thinking, “If I were the pastor, I would do it like this,” then it is time to leave. If you are thinking this way, then you will question his decision making and become skeptical, which can lead to a bitter relationship. When you and your pastor’s relationship are on the rocks, with no improvement in sight, the best thing you can do is leave.
You (or your family) are spiritually dead
In a previous post, I wrote about different disciplines you and your spouse can participate in to help stimulate growth, even though you’re not being spiritually fed at your church. If you and your spouse have put effort into these different disciplines, and are still spiritually dead or being spiritually drained, then it is time to leave.
Even though you are called to be the youth pastor at your church, your church should be a place of worship and growth for you and your family. Furthermore, your first calling is to your family, and if they are suffering spiritually it is your job to take care of them first. Students come and go, but your family stays. Take care of yourself and them first, because if you don’t, you’re useless to everyone.
There are no ministries for your family
Let’s be honest, sometimes we take a job based off of our current life circumstance. For example, you took a part-time job when you were single or dating someone, and you were willing to sacrifice some commodities because all you had to worry about was yourself. Or maybe it was just you and your spouse, and you took the job knowing both of you will sacrifice a little to serve the church.
Yet, life happens. We get married and start families, and that changes everything. Our new family dynamic means that we have to consider how the place we serve at will encourage our families’ spiritual growth; if there are no ministries for them, then we have to put them first and be willing to find a place for them, even if that means we have to leave our current position.
You cannot support your family
If you haven’t figured it out now, your first ministry is to your family, and you are called to take care of them first. Going into part-time student ministry, you know you’ll have to work two jobs to make it work; however, if your church is pulling you from the job that is paying a majority of the bills, but does not have any inclination to help you, then you may have to leave.
Sadly, churches can be notorious for trying to get maximum output with little compensation. And what’s worse? Churches will even make empty promises saying they would like to eventually make you full-time, or help you out, but have no intention too, just to keep you around longer. Be honest with your current situation, and never feel bad about choosing your family over your position.
You are called to full-time ministry
If you have every intention of going into full-time ministry, or you believe God has called you from part-time to full-time, than you need to start looking for a full-time position. The longer you stay at your current part-time position, the more restless you will become. When we become restless about not being in full-time ministry, it can lead to bitterness or anxiousness, which can spread like wild-fire into your current ministry. If you’re called to full-time ministry, take the first steps you need to move into your new calling.
In the end, for many of us, our part-time position is the first church we have ever served at. And in all honesty, our first church can be related to the first relationship we have ever had. It’s new, exciting, and we feel emotions we have never felt before. Yet, we grow and learn what love is and isn’t, and we come to the conclusion we shouldn’t be in this relationship anymore. So we break up, but we keeping going back to the relationship because its our first love and we don’t know any better. This causes us to be trapped in an unhealthy cycle of breaking up and getting back together, which hurts us in the long run. Don’t get caught in this cycle. If you need to leave, leave and don’t look back. Cherish the memories and know God will provide you with another church to serve.
What are some other reasons why a youth pastor should leave a church?
What are some reasons that youth pastors use, but that you disagree with (and why)?