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10 Rock-Solid Reasons You Should NOT Quit Youth Ministry

Picture of Greg Stier
Greg Stier
man, depressed, sitting

I talk to youth leaders all the time. From Pentecostal to Presbyterian, from coast to coast, from urban to suburban, God has blessed me to consistently be in front of all kinds of youth leaders from all kinds of backgrounds.

Sometimes I’m counseling them. Other times I’m consoling them. But most of the time I’m encouraging them to “fight through until breakthrough” with their teenagers.

I’ve seen a pattern. Many youth leaders are underpaid and overworked. Most are volunteer or work a full-time job on top of youth ministry. The amount of emotional, physical, and spiritual energy it takes to keep up with teenagers, let alone disciple them, would leave most lead pastors breathless and frustrated. And because youth leaders often don’t see an immediate payoff for all their hard work, the temptation is to move on to another more “glorious” position in the church (or out of it).

Perhaps this defines you. Maybe you’re considering planting a church or leading a church yourself. After all, if you’re going to do all this work, why not get a little more limelight. (And a little more pay wouldn’t hurt either, right?) Perhaps you’re considering becoming an associate pastor in the meantime and doing all the counseling, marrying, and burying your lead pastor doesn’t want to do anymore. In your moments of quiet frustration, you ask yourself why you should stay in a position that many church leaders consider to be the lowest rung on the ministry ladder?

Or maybe you’re thinking about an all-out change—out of the church world into the “real world.” Maybe you’ll just quit youth ministry altogether and start fresh, doing a job that can actually not just pay the bills, but also give you a little extra “fun money” or some cash you can invest.

But before you send that email or set up that meeting, here are 10 reasons you shouldn’t quit youth ministry: 

1. 77% of those who trust in Jesus do so by the age of 18. You’re dealing in the demographic that’s most open to the Gospel.

2. Jesus was a youth leader and led a revolution that changed the world. You have the same Holy Spirit as He did!

3. Every major spiritual awakening in the history of the United States has had teenagers on the leading edge. And it’s time for another spiritual awakening!

4. According to the United Nations, this is the largest generation of youth in the history of the world. There are 1,000,000,000 teenagers worldwide! Some of them live in your city and need to hear the Gospel from your teenagers.

5. Teenagers are looking for unconditional love and can find it only in our unimaginable God! You have a huge part in making that happen!

6. Teenagers are looking for a cause, and making disciples here, there, and everywhere is the ultimate cause (Matthew 28:19-20).

7. The average teenager has 425 online and face-to-face friends they can reach out to with the Gospel. And you can equip them to do that.

8. If you equip a teenager now, they can serve Christ and advance His Kingdom for the rest of their lives. Adults are already closer to the “finish line.” (No offense, adults!)

9. Set a teen on fire, and they can set a youth group on fire. Set a youth group on fire, and they can set a church on fire. Set a church on fire, and they can set a city on fire. The Holy Spirit holds the matches and is ready to hand them to you!

10. God loves to use the “foolish things of the world” to advance His Kingdom. And there’s nothing more foolish than the typical teenager. (No offense, teenagers!)

Obviously, God’s will in our lives trumps all of these reasons to stay in youth ministry. So, if God is genuinely moving you on, you must follow His will. But no matter where God leads you, never stop influencing teenagers to live and lead the cause of Christ!

But if you’re just tired or discouraged, then it’s time to double down, not just on youth ministry, but on the right brand of youth ministry. This ministry model will be a game changer for you and your teens. It will breathe life into your soul and give you “tackling fuel” to stay the course. Click here to discover more.  

Unlikely Fighter

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