We have all been there as youth ministers… attempting to discern when and why to change churches. Hopefully, these ideas will help you to make your decision.
5 Reasons To Change Churches
#5 No Parent Volunteers
Now, many of us might not even know what a parent volunteer looks like anymore. Many ministries look like a “drop-off” your student only ministry. Parents may say, “Have a great time! What time does this thing end again?” Often this can feel like babysitting. This model is not all bad and may be momentarily necessary as you build trust with parents.
Sometimes, it takes more than a year to build up trust with parents to get them to buy-in to your youth ministry, participate in setting goals, and ministry direction. But more so than not, when you recruit, pray, and personally ask the people that you see as good leaders and strong Christian role models for students, parent volunteers will be there for you.
If for some reason, no parents ever want to be involved or even pray for your ministry, then that might be one reason to consider leaving, but not the sole reason to leave.
#4 No Resources
I know that is all of us at some point. What I mean is, no resources and no hope of ever having any resources. Again, this is a matter of prayer, time, and building vision and direction for your ministry with your students and volunteers. Once people see you are serious, and more importantly, once you align your ministry’s vision with God’s vision for your students, the resources you need will be there.
Sounds kind of ridiculous and outlandish to just be that matter-of-fact, but that’s having faith. I can look back on years when I had a $0 budget or close to it and see how many amazing things students were able to learn and do on limited financial provision from the church.
#3 Better Salary
If you are in this for the money, just stop reading and go back to school for something else. I truly believe youth ministry is a calling. You should never leave for a better salary, however, sometimes God is prompting you to move. This might be one of the reasons to move on from your current ministry. But, remember your calling, and understand God really does provide everything you need for today. You can take that to the bank!
#2 Malicious Senior Pastor
Most senior pastors are just trying to hold us accountable to do a good job. However, I am not naïve, and I have met many that are spiteful, unrelenting, and harsh even to their staff.
At times God is growing us through trials, but if it ever goes beyond certain parameters, you should not stay in a job where you are feeling belittled, betrayed, or broken down. Behavior that is bordering on abuse is surely a reason to leave or to request help from elders, deacons, or a higher court to investigate said behavior. Do not try to endure this type of behavior for long.
#1 A new call
This is probably the only reason to really leave your church but it is not the sole reason to leave your church. Being called somewhere else is not the same as being called by God. Your call should be both confirmed internally by the Holy Spirit and externally by people in your life who are trustworthy and mature believers. A new call must be prayed over, thought through, and confirmed both externally and internally before moving.
I hope this list will help you to stay and grow your ministry right where God has planted you. He has blessed me with 19 years in the same place. I know that is not everyone’s story. Sometimes people flee places when things get hard or they feel no momentum, and often it’s not God calling them to do anything except remain faithful where they are. So, next time you are ready to flee, look over this list and see if there are some valid reasons to stay or if you should change churches.
May God forever bless you in youth ministry!
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David currently serves as the Associate Pastor at New Hope PCA, and he has served in full-time youth ministry for nearly 19 years. At every point in his life, even before working in the local church, David has loved working with students. He is a graduate of the University of Florida with a degree in Journalism and Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando with a Master of Divinity degree. David has been married to his beautiful wife, Karen, for nearly 24 years, and they have two teenage children that are about to graduate high school. David’s hobbies outside of ministry involve the outdoors as much as possible, watching sports, and writing for his Dad’s hometown newspaper.
You can read more of David’s writings here.