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Are you thriving at your church?

Reduce stressMost of the conversations I’ve been having with youth workers lately seem to have a common thread of struggles and frustrations with their church. Some youth workers feel stifled in their leadership, others feel like they have too much leadership. Some feel as if their church expects too much from them, others wish they had even a small list of expectations to direct them. I’m hearing such a wide range of issues.

I wonder how widespread the feeling of frustration is among youth workers. Are youth workers generally thriving in their ministry contexts or are they struggling in one way or another, whether it be with staff members, expectations, leadership, lack of respect, or whatever?

I’m running a poll here. It’s completely anonymous to vote, so take a second and do so.

POLL: Generally speaking, are you thriving in your ministry position or are you frustrated and struggling with it? (click to vote)

If you have any thoughts about this question and the which direction you feel the trend would lean towards and why, please leave them in the comments below. I’d love to hear what you’re thinking about this and discuss it together, especially if you have any solutions for the ones who are frustrated.


Posted on September 14, 2010

  • jamie

    I took the survey, and right now I am excited and pumped for this year! The previous 7 years has been filled with alot of frustration and struggle. God has orchestrated so much over the summer to really put us in a very exciting position. So generally it's been a road of struggle with church and leadership issues.

  • paster4lyfe

    I am generally happy to be at the church I am at. I have a great senior pastor and am anticipating some good stuff for the coming year. I'm at a small church, and have one real volunteer to help out with the youth. Sometimes there seems to be a power struggle, and I don't feel as though my leadership is doing much, it seems as though I'm teamed up on alot. There are other frustrations that I have, and I could certainly let that get to me if I was more focused on it.

    It seems in ministry, & in a lot of other jobs, we can forgot that where we are now is where God has us. We seem to think this is what we have chosen for ourselves. We can look at other churches and positions and always seem as though the grass is greener on the other side. Ive seen alot of pastors that just move from church to church.

    Don't focus on your frustrations, or specific situations. You can always focus more on them then the actual ministry that God has called you to. NO church is perfect, each will have its own frustrations and "things I can't stand". Of course, there are certain instances and situations that you may need to leave, I'm not saying that is never the case!

    And remember to always lift one another up in prayer!

    • I'm glad to hear you're generally happy there! You're absolutely right that every job has frustrations, disappointments and struggles. Those are to be expected as long as you're working with other people who are just as sinful as you are. But some youth workers feel like they experience an abnormal amount of frustration due to things outside their control.

      That's what I'm asking here: generally speaking, overall, are you just struggling through your position (not that you don't ever have them) or do you feel like you're thriving and serving the Lord to your full potential?

      Thanks for the clarification, paster4lyfe.

    • Sean

      Hey a bit unrelated to the question but i was just reading and I noticed your in a small church with only one volunteer, would love to know what sort of stuff you do with just two leaders as almost all of our youth leaders have had to give it up for one reason or another. With only three of us i've been told we cant run the weekly program we used to which I know the youth have been really annoyed about.
      How do you run your youth ministry?

      (if it would be better to have a conversation elsewhere my email is sean.a.miller@hotmail.com)

  • Alan Myers

    Every ministry has its ups and downs, especially, youth ministry. It's hard to minister when there are so many different views on how the youth pastor/worker should act and how his/her ministry should look. Therein lies the problem. Most churches (lay people) don't understand, haven't been taught or just don't care about what the role of a pastor is including the youth pastor. They also don't have an understanding of what ministry is all about. That is why there are so many youth pastors/workers feeling discontent. The people are putting unrealistic expectations on them because they don't understand ministry. People are constantly undermining the youth pastors authority because they don't understand the roles of leadership in the church. These and more then lead to feelings of frustrations and burnout. So the question is, "How do we educate them in these areas?"

    I would also say that part of the reason why some youth workers don't feel like they are thriving is because of their own lack of understanding when it comes to what their role and position is in ministry. Preaching/teaching the youth and caring for the youth are two very important aspects of youth ministry. However, I believe the most important part of ministry is the youth pastors/workers personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

    I think when we figure out how to educate and train others about ministry and when we take care of our own spiritual lives, then we will see thriving youth pastors/workers!

  • Alan Myers

    Every ministry has its ups and downs, especially, youth ministry. It's hard to minister when there are so many different views on how the youth pastor/worker should act and how his/her ministry should look. Therein lies the problem. Most churches (lay people) don't understand, haven't been taught or just don't care about what the role of a pastor is including the youth pastor. They also don't have an understanding of what ministry is all about. That is why there are so many youth pastors/workers feeling discontent. The people are putting unrealistic expectations on them because they don't understand ministry. People are constantly undermining the youth pastors authority because they don't understand the roles of leadership in the church. These and more then lead to feelings of frustrations and burnout. So the question is, "How do we educate them in these areas?"

    I would also say that part of the reason why some youth workers don't feel like they are thriving is because of their own lack of understanding when it comes to what their role and position is in ministry. Preaching/teaching the youth and caring for the youth are two very important aspects of youth ministry. However, I believe the most important part of ministry is the youth pastors/workers personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

    I think when we figure out how to educate and train others about ministry and when we take care of our own spiritual lives, then we will see thriving youth pastors/workers!

  • I know I'm a little late, but I just wanted to add my two cents :)

    When I first saw the title, I thought, nope, not really. I'm exhausted, lacking in volunteers, and running out of ideas to fix it. The future is uncertain, and the budget is low. There has been a lot of pressure on me to make the group better and to organize things better in various ways. I'm finding myself very busy, and often running out of time. My personal life has been absolutely crazy lately, leaving me stressed and in a bad mood just on time for youth meetings. Since I'm graduating soon, I also need to focus on school. Shouldn't thriving be a little bit easier?

    But then I thought about again, and I realized that it's not as bad as it seems. We have more students regularly coming to the youth meetings and getting excited about God. I can see how God is changing them, and they recently did 24 hours of prayer and fasting.

    No matter how hard it gets, I think that I need to look at the youth group from God's perspective. Maybe thriving can be harder than just getting by, because we have an enemy who doesn't like what we're doing. Right now, I know that good things are happening in my youth group, and I'm thinking that I consider that thriving.

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