How I’m Starting Over In Youth Ministry

4 Attitudes Every Person Starting Over Needs To Embrace

I’m the new guy once again.  As a kid, I hated being the new guy because there was a lot of unknown.  As an adult, there still is a lot of unknown with being new and that’s okay.  In fact, it’s better.

It’s going to be fun blogging to all of you from the perspective of someone who has been in ministry for over a decade and now as someone who is new.  As I settle into this new position I’m reminded that when you start over you need:


This is the scariest truth when it comes to being new.  As the new person, you signify change and not everyone wants to make the change.

It’s okay and the key is not to take it personally.  Instead, you need to look at it as if God is pruning your ministry.  He’s creating space in order for you to grow.

If someone leaves or if teens don’t return try not to take it personally.  After all, they don’t know you well enough to make a clear judgment on your character.  Invest in who stays and you will build a solid foundation.


You aren’t going to have everything you had at your previous church.  It can be a little disarming when you don’t have the same:

  • People who knew your strengths and weaknesses.
  • Resources you trusted to get the job done.
  • Systems that guided you in the direction you wanted to go.

Instead of complaining embrace what you have.  God’s going to give you what you need and by embracing it you are inviting Him to bless you.



People are going to be so happy that you are the church and they’re going to offer their assistance.  The first few days will feel great, but in the end, you need to follow up on some of those offers.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help.  Be sure to ask questions like:

  • How do we get this task done?
  • What’s the history behind this program?
  • Who are the people I should be talking to?
  • What are hasn’t worked and what has?
  • Why is this happening this way?

To make the best decisions for your ministry you need to make sure you are getting the best information possible.  And that only comes by asking the right questions.


It will take an unknown amount of time to reach your goals.  You probably learned that in your first job, but you have to remind yourself constantly.

It doesn’t matter how many years you previously worked in ministry you are new and a change to your current place of employment.  It’s going to take people time to adjust and respond to your plan.  Patience is key because it will remind you to stay focused on what needs to be done.

So, begins another marathon for me.  As I begin this first leg I’m reminded not to rush.  If you are new to ministry remember that while you have goals to reach and a vision to fulfill you don’t want to miss out on the journey.  God is shaping you into the leader He wants you to be.

Question:  What advice would you give a youth minister who is starting over in a new church?  You can leave a comment by clicking here.


Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Tammy Mansveld

    After 16 1/2 years I am also starting over in a new parish starting in July. While I admit there is a lot I know now that I didn’t then, I still have to remember that I have to learn this parish. The way it functions as a community, the ways it responds or doesn’t respond to teens. Creating a vision for what works for them.

    • Tammy, your point is so true. Even if you have 50 years in youth ministry, a Masters, etc. it still takes time to learn your parish, community and the teens that are a part of it.

  • Spencer Kahly

    Listen to students, parents, pastor, former youth group students, etc. to understand their expectations of a youth pastor and their opinions of past practices. Watch the bulletin, website, emails, etc. to see the most common ways the congregation is informed. Examine the budget to determine the areas of financial importance to leadership. Work alongside as many people as you can, in as many situations as possible to know how the church works.

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