Before I get into some specifics I want to say that for some of us, youth ministry may only be a season of our life, and so we may need to prayerfully consider moving on. But for most of us, I believe this is our permanent calling and we must work to fight through these times of doubt. Because now more than ever the harvest is plentiful and the laborers are few, so we must persevere as we work towards reaching this generation. Which is why I want to cover what I believe to be some of the top reasons why people leave student ministry and how we can overcome these obstacles. Please know that first and foremost is always prayer and community and accountability but there are other things we can do as well.
1. Money - This is not the highest paying job in the world so sometimes you might truly be struggling financially or sometimes you might just want to keep up with the Joneses. If it is the latter, then it is just time to pray and get your priorities straightened out. But if it is the former situation there are some things you can do before you decide to jump ship. One is to realize that God has probably always met your needs along the way so there is no need to fear. Second, see if there is anything you can sacrifice to make things a little smoother financially. You can also pray for God's continued blessing and provision. Finally, if need be, you may want to go in and ask for a raise. This may seem greedy but sometimes it is needed and deserved, and asking never hurt. All they can do is say no.
2. Overworked- This is nothing new in the church. For a long time 10% of the people have done 90% of the work. There are a couple of things you can do though. One is to make sure your vision is clear and you are actually overworked and not just settling in to negativity. But you can also get help. Look for people who you can empower to take on more responsibility so you do not have to do everything and maybe so you do not have to be at every single youth ministry event. Finally, you may want to look and see if you have unnecessary components to your schedule and just get rid of them.
3. Family issues- All I want to say on this is that your family comes first. So if you are feeling that there are difficulties at home do what it takes to fix them, even if it means slowing down or stepping away for a bit.
4. Sin- This has destroyed the life of many ministers. This is why you need clear boundaries and accountability in your life to make sure this does not happen to you. But if you do fall in to temptation you need to confess it and deal with it. You also need to accept the consequences, and hopefully you will be able to recover and not lose the ability to fulfill the calling God has placed on your life.
5. Self Doubt- This happens. We all have doubts at times. This is why I encourage you to have loving and supporting community around you that can encourage you and be a listening ear when you have these doubts. I also encourage you to journal. Write down when students get saved, write down when God moves, write down when you have great conversations. This way you can look back and realize God is using you and working through you and lives are being changed because of the work you are doing.
Youth ministry is not easy and the time may come for you to leave it. But if that times come I want it to be because of God's calling and nothing else. Hopefully these tips will help make sure that this is the case.