I also blog at The Journal of Student Ministry – but if you’ve read my previous posts about it, they “approve” your blog. A blog that needs approval isn’t a blog, but it’s cool.
I submitted one this morning, but in case it doesn’t approved, I didn’t want to waste my time by not having it published so I’m going to post it as well here. This is what I wrote. I called it “A Stepping Stone.”
I have been around youth ministry enough to have heard scores of people talk about how so many youth pastors use youth ministry as a stepping stone to something else. I was one of those that wanted to be so committed to youth ministry that I was going to be in it forever. It was a crippling thought in my life, but I didn’t know that until a mentor and a good friend told me that I wasn’t a youth pastor. I proceeded to tell him that I majored in it in college and in seminary. It was what I was doing, and he still held to the idea that I was not a youth pastor. I had never been so angry and confused at a fellow pastor-he was the teaching pastor at the church that I was at.
Looking back on that experience, I am really thankful to him. I am so glad that he was willing to be so bold and give me some perspective. I think that thought was pretty debilitating. I don’t know what people are saying to in youth ministry, but what are some of those crippling thoughts that you are hearing that limits you? Do you hold on to the idea that youth ministry is it.
There is a reason why youth pastors end up doing amazing things – like becoming college professors and college administrators, running lucrative and successful companies, and leading amazing initiatives all over the world. Inherent in youth ministry is this training for amazing leadership. Most youth pastors move on to do even great “youth ministry” because of the absolutely awesome training in youth ministry to lead. Where else can you learn to do so much with so very little? Where else can you learn to be the teacher and the administrator and the custodian? Where else can you practice such a breadth and range of disciplines from psychology to theology, philosophy to espn?
Youth pastors do not ever stop being youth pastors, and in many ways, never end doing youth ministries. Youth pastors end up leaving youth ministry because they are amazing, skilled people that would do things that most people won’t.
Use youth ministry as a stepping stone to something else. God isn’t worried about that and the church is resilient enough. Youth ministry will be fine if you leave.