No, this isn’t clickbait or even and article about what you should do if you resign (that will come later), but I really did resign from my job.
I didn’t get in trouble and all my relationships in the church are fine. This process has been going on for about a year and a half. I have been praying, thinking, blogging, and more praying some more about what’s next for my life.
I turn 50 this month and I graduate my last child from high school. I have been told this is a natural season of life change. I haven’t been here before so I’ll accept that. There were several factors at play in resigning my position ( I resigned because I never quit anything, btw.)
I had taken these students as far as I could take them
The kids I have served for eight years are the best. Over time, I was able to develop leaders and watch them shine, but I knew I couldn’t take them any further. We had done so much together from retreats, to mission trips, to service projects, to outreaches. It started to feel like wash, rinse repeat. There’s nothing wrong with repetition as long as your getting results, but I felt like I was becoming a manager when these kids needed a leader.
The kids need a younger leader
As I said earlier, I’m turning 50 this month and I would be lying if said I haven’t felt all 30 years of my youth ministry life. It was just getting harder to care about certain things, not the kids, but the role. I love my students with all my heart and they need someone who is fully engaged and hitting on all cylinders.
I’m not ashamed to say that it all caught up to me. It happens to all of us at some point. The kids need a younger leader more than I needed the job. I could have selfishly hung on for another 10 years, no one was kicking me out, but I don’t think that would have served these students or the church well. I want them to have a younger leader who can bring life to the group for a longer period of time.
The church needed a creative crises
Most in the church see me leaving my position as a bad thing. I do not. Every church needs a creative crisis. Every church needs moments where they need to rally around or behind a person or program, In this case, it’s the youth group. I am not leaving the church permanently, I will still attend Sunday mornings and maybe Wednesday’s when I’m not traveling.
For those who do not know, I am serving (until July 2018) an aging, small, rural church. Like most rural churches, there can be a bla·sé, get comfy attitude with the way things are. My hope is that the church will see the need to wrap it’s arms around the youth ministry like never before .
We are One Church, adults, teen, kids. The adults need the youthfulness of teens to see the now and the future of our Body. Youth gives them hope. The teenagers need the wisdom and maturity of the adults to help them on their journey. My hope is that they do not hire someone too quickly otherwise everyone will wipe their brow and say “Whew! glad I can stop working with those teens. Let that young feller do it.” This only perpetuates a ” let’s hire out our responsibilities” kind of mentality. No church, it’s still your responsibility.
I need to grow as human being and not just a youth worker
You can be in youth work so long you forget their are other adults in the world. Most of my conversations are about relationships, events, culture, etc and most of the stuff is not in my wheelhouse.
The best thing I love is having conversations with my wife at the dinner table or in the sun room with the tv off. She’s the real adult in the room. We talk about our day, our plans, and stuff we love. I want to do that, with her, for the next 30 years.
I want to stretch my faith
To be honest, I came to a place where it didn’t take a lot of faith to execute my job. I always went in with faith that God would be God and He would move in the life of student, and he did; but I knew my role too well, and it became too easy. It wasn’t like when I was young and had no clue what I was doing and would rush heavens doors for answers. I need that back in my life.
Everything in my life can be connected to a movie. In this case, Rocky III. Mick, Rocky’s manager, had set Rocky up with fights that were below his potential to keep him safe. In doing so, he made Rocky soft. When he fought Clubber Lang, he got destroyed. Rocky had lost his hunger, the *cue the music* “eye of the tiger” He went back to they gym, faced his fears, and came back leaner, meaner, and ready to take on the tougher opponent. Spoiler Alert: Rocky wins.
I said earlier that I resigned my youth pastoring job, but I have not resigned doing youth ministry. That’s literally impossible for me to do.
So, what now?
Good question, I am thankful that 12 years ago I started this blog/website. It’s become the hub and launch pad for what’s next. I plan to keep writing and serving the needs of youth workers right here. I love to help good youth ministries get better and great youth ministries become epic, it’s what I love.
If you’re a regular reader, thank you for your attention and please let me know how I might serve you and your youth ministry.
I’m now booking training sessions, youth meetings, retreats, revivals, camps, and anything else I can do to serve youth workers in the fall of 2018.
If you’d like to support me in my endeavors you can
You can watch me talk about this in more detail in my Facebook Live announcement