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4 Serious Signs Youth Pastors Should Update Their Resumes

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There are those moments in ministry where you stare at your computer and wonder, ” Should I be updating my resume?” The answer is yes, you should be, but that doesn’t mean you’re looking to quit.

According to Indeed’s Guide to Updating Your Resume,

You should revisit your resume at least twice a year, especially if you’re currently employed. If you’re out of the job market but currently seeking work, you should refresh your resume as often as possible and as soon as anything occurs that may make you a more competitive candidate.

Indeed, Nov 10, 2020

Beyond the twice a year, there are other signs you should be updating your resume

Uneasiness With The Direction of the Church

When I left my first church, it was due to the fact that the church had made a turn I was not prepared for. It’s silly , but the church was in revival and we had canceled most youth meetings on Wednesday’s for an extended period of time. I was young and felt like if we were not having youth meetings, I’m not doing youth ministry. Immature, I know, but that’s when I started to entertain other options.

I failed to recognize what God was doing and only focused on what I thought I should be doing. It was the wrong reason to update my resume. When is the right time?

If you sense trends in ideology and philosophy being put into practice, from your leadership, that you are not comfortable with, you might want to dust off the resume.

In another church I served at, discipleship was an after thought. The service and the preaching became the primary place of learning. Discipleship is in my DNA so it was time for me end my time there.

Keep an eye on the programming shifts and what’s becoming important in your church. Pray through and lay it before the Lord. If it does not set well with you, maybe it’s time for a conversation on where the church is going and how you see your part in it or not.

Philosophical or Doctrinal Disagreements

One of the Pastor’s I served, essentially, re-preached another pastors’ sermons. He would read their book and then break down the chapters into messages. The books he was reading/preaching rubbed me the wrong way. There was never anything overtly challenging major doctrines such as the deity of Christ or the authority of God’s word but there seemed, to me, a disconnect in what he and I believed about the Christian life.

Everything that was being preached was so high and lofty, almost unattainable to the normal saint. The philosophy or doctrine of super-sainthood, where believers can attain and live in the runners high of faith, made no sense to me. Not only did it not make any sense to me but it did not make sense to the students I served.

Clearly, if you or your pastor’s theology shifts, you should consider have a conversation to make sure you can still do Kingdom work together.

If you feel like you’re always having to make excuses for your pastor to your students or having to explain messages that leave students with more questions than answers, it’s time to re-evaluate.

Constant Power Struggles

Who’s in control? That is the essence of a power struggle. Who has control of the budget? Who sets the direction for the youth ministry? I have to admit, in most of the youth ministers I’ve served, I had a tremendous amount of autonomy, but I know that is not the experience of many youth pastors.

Power struggles could look like someone undermining your efforts and this could be the pastor or it could be volunteers, a committee, parents or even students.

Power struggles, like an uneven contest of tug of war, eventually wears you down leaving not much energy to lead.

A power struggle collapses when you withdraw your energy from it. Power struggles become uninteresting to you when you change your intention from winning to learning about yourself. – Gary Zukav

Lack of Ministry Growth

If you’re like me, you’re quick to blame yourself for the failures of the youth ministry. You may say things like,

“I’m not good enough”

“I’m not smart enough”

“I’m not talented enough”

Sometimes ministry growth feels like a 10,000 piece puzzle and you just can’t put the pieces together. This may be true, but it may only be true at the current church you serve at. Some churches just make it hard to grow a youth ministry because they don’t want certain kinds of kids, they want a group just for their kids or they don’t have a growth mindset for Kingdom work.

Before you start blaming yourself, consider all the obstacles you face and decide whether it’s your lack initiative or their lack of vision that’s holding things back. Both are valid. One of these you can change and the other one will take lots of prayer and patience if you want to stay at that kind of church.

Lack of Personal Growth

Your lack of personal growth is a valid reason to update your resume but it shouldn’t be an excuse to leave your church. If you’re not being challenged and have become spiritually stagnant; be careful you aren’t excusing yourself from the very situation that could bring you the most growth.

There are two ways you’re going to grow. The first is trouble. Conflict or life/ministry disturbances are growth accelerators. The disciples learned more about themselves, and the Lord, in a boat on a stormy sea then if they were sitting on a mountain hearing Him teach. Growth through trouble is inevitable if we receive it as such.

The second way you’ll grow is failure. Trying new things and failing leads to new perspectives. Failure in youth ministry is inevitable, just don’t keep making the same mistakes over and over. Learn your lesson and move on.

Before you use “personal growth” as a reason to update your resume,

  • Keep a log of the opportunities for growth each challenge affords you and whether you run to them or from them.
  • Take time to pray and discern whether moving on will actually solve anything or whether you’re the problem.
  • Get council from trustworthy people who will share with you which area of life they think you need to grow in.

My hope is that you’re updating your resume for all the right reasons and not because you have itchy feet or running from growth opportunities.

If you’d like to work through issues, build a successful youth ministry and grow like crazy, I invite you to check our my coaching program.

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