You’ve read the statistics, where the average youth minister lasts in a church 18 months. While Group says it is more like 3.9 years…the point is that youth pastor tenure isn’t the greatest. Unfortunately, it happens all too often in ministry where the youth pastor career looks more like a left-handed reliever in baseball, traded from one team to another.
It has always been my goal in ministry, and still is, to have longevity in ministry. But the Lord leads where the Lord leads, and here I am. The first week of a new ministry, excited to be back in the trenches, but nervous in starting all over again. It would be foolish to not share what God has done in my heart and lessons I have personally learned in transition of ministry. So here they are:
Lessons Learned in Ministry Transition:
- God will provide – Let’s face it. Without another degree, our Bible degree doesn’t really translate into getting a job managing stock portfolio’s for fortune 500 companies. We get what God provides as we wait on His perfect timing. So, if working in a grocery store stocking shelves or in the packaging department at FedEx is where God places you, be thankful that God provides. And, you will be suprised (although you shouldn’t be) how God will provide for you and your family. May be a stretch of your trust ability, but trust our great God!
- Be Used Wherever You Are – You may not be in ministry in your transition, but you can still HAVE a ministry. Witness to those around you. For example, people found out I was a pastor where I worked, and I had people scheduling counseling appointments with me!
- Feed the Flame – Don’t stop reading. Don’t stop praying. Don’t stop serving in the local body. Keep the passion that God has given in you going. If you resigned due to exhaustion, mistakes, disagreement, or God leading you on…whatever it may be, don’t stop letting God teach you.
- Join a Church – Find a church body that you can trust and that will encourage you as you heal/rejuvenate/determine God’s will. It is important to find a church that you are familiar with, and that will provide you with encouragement, love, and a place to continue to serve.
- Find a Mentor – Listen, you are not the first pastor to change churches for whatever reason. Find an experienced pastor that will help you, keep your heart right towards ministry, challenge you, pray with you, teach you, and assist you in finding the next steps in your ministry path.
Hope this helps encourage you in your ministry transition. Follow God’s will and you will be blessed.