Last year I had the privilege of meeting Kevin Ragsdale and spending some time with him. Kevin is the director of high school ministry at NorthPoint and has been for many, many years. I toured the HS ministry and have implemented a few things learned, like providing dinner for students before the program. Kevin, full of experience, I knew I had one final question for him before ending our conversation, “What is the one piece of advice you would give to me as a youth pastor in a new church?” He quickly responded, “Don’t quit too soon.”
Those words have stuck with me over the past year, but I can’t imagine what those words will truly mean until years from now. As a youth pastor you will have too many “good” reasons to quit. Everything from budgets to a confrontation with your senior pastor. Did I mention that rally of leaders or parents that question you, or are against the way you are doing things? These are just a few reasons why we get tired in the game and giving up could be so enticing. Don’t do it.
Every hard conversation, budget dollar you spend, sermon you preach, leader you recruit, and vision casting moment… you are gaining ground and creating forward momentum. Don’t let that one thing that is currently bringing you down right now be the deciding factor in quitting your position and moving on to another church or ministry where you will face similar things. Learn to stick up for yourself, your ministry, your vision and put the time in. Keep short accounts and seek reconciliation.
What kind of student ministry would your church and families benefit from if you remained their leader for the next 5 years? 8 years? 15 years?
Sean Chandler says
Along these same lines, Bobby Pruitt once told me, “Most youth pastors quit youth ministry just when then they’re starting to be good at it.” In the past I’d considered moving onto the next stage in ministry by my current age, but without question if I left now I would be leaving right as was becoming good at leading a ministry as a whole.