What Is Your Secret To Longevity In Student Ministry?

Sat down with a youth minister who is leaving after 3 years.  Part of his leaving is because he’s feeling called to a different vocation and part of it is due to the fact that he has just had enough of youth ministry. I understand why he’s leaving, when you are called you are called and when you have had enough, you’ve had enough.  Ministry is tough.  Granted I’ve only been in ministry for 7 years, but then again I’ve been in ministry for 7 years.  Talking to my buddy made me think about the reasons (outside of my calling) that I’ve stuck around.  They are:

  • Systematic Thinking: Scheduling, organizational charts, agenda, etc.  If you don’t systematize your ministry you will constantly find yourself in chaos.
  • Communication At Home: If you are married you not only need your spouse’s support, you need clear and open discussion.  Trying to balance work and home is tough if you aren’t authentic and open.
  • An Invested Leader: I’m blessed to have a pastor who believes in me and allows me to make decisions even if it means failure.  The relationship we have isn’t due to luck, it’s due to communication, trust and a lot of hard work between the two of us. 
  • Focus On The Relationship: Delegating to and recruiting ministers is only possible when the relationship is at the center.  Invest in others and they’ll invest back.
  • God’s Grace: When I couldn’t go further, God kept me going.  Days alone with God, quiet time, spiritual direction and staff prayer are a few of the steps I took to allow Him to work through me.

I would like to say I knew all these things right off the back.  I would like to say I know it all, but I’m still learning.  Ministry is a marathon, it’s a tough road to follow.  To see it to the end you just need to take one step at a time and focus on Him.

What’s kept you going duringte your tenure of student ministry?