I started in the youth department. Well, I was the youth department.
I loved it and entered into youth ministry believing it would be a career. I wanted, if not all of my ministry career, most of it, to be spent guiding teenagers. Coming up on 20 years of working with churches, it doesn’t look like I’m going to make it.
As a full-time youth minister, I worked just a little over 12-years.
There are many reasons women and men transition out of youth ministry – some aren’t very good at it, others burned or bailed out, a few made huge mistakes, and still others transitioned into other ministry roles or went back to school. Regardless of the reasons, when a pastor transitions, more times than not, myriad opportunities get missed and there is almost always some kind of useless, avoidable disruption.
The majority of youth workers I know who have left youth work – even for other ministries within the church – might have held their ministry posts for longer had they and their churches been more adept at navigating a few crucial transitions. In most cases, both church leadership and youth workers failed to recognize and negotiate critical evolutions leaving youth worker feeling the need to move on in life and ministry.