When you feel like quitting the ministry

Unfortunately, it’s too often that I hear about youth pastors who are going through bad church situations and have thus decided to pull out of ministry for good. I can completely identify with this feeling — I’ve felt it many times before (see here, here, and here) and I’m sure it’ll come again in the future. But each time there’s been a couple things holding me back, reasons why I’m still in ministry today despite the ministry trash I’ve been through.

1. Confidence in God’s calling on my life.

2. Knowing that the greatest rewards are often on the other side of the greatest trials.

3. What doesn’t kill me only makes me stronger.

4. Working with sinful people is always messy, of which I am the worst.

5. I know the enemy wants me out.

Guest blogger series this week
This week Bill Allison will be featured as a guest blogger sharing a 4-part series called, Leading When You Want to Quit. As the Executive Director for Cadre Ministries — a faith-based missionary team with almost 100 years of combined youth ministry experience — he and his team pour their lives into helping churches equip students and volunteers to do ministry in Ephesians 4:11-12 fashion. He’s worked with hundreds of churches and youth workers all over the world, many of whom are on the brink of quitting the ministry for various reasons. This week Bill is gracious enough to share his wisdom and expertise of how to lead a ministry when you really just want to quit.

Leading When You Want to Quit Series
Leading When You Want to Quit (Part 1 of 4)
Leading When You Want to Quit (Part 2 of 4)
Leading When You Want to Quit (Part 3 of 4)
Leading When You Want to Quit (Part 4 of 4)

UPDATE: Here’s a more recent post that gives another perspective on quitting, one that actually gives you permission to quit.

Posted on January 14, 2008

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  • Eric

    Tim –

    “Leading When You Want To Quit” series…think the links are missing for these to download/view….

  • Yeah, I’ll post one part of the series each day during this week and then will come back here to link them to the appropriate post so this page serves as an “index” to the series. The posts will become available throughout the week, so if you’re signed up to get email updates or subscribe to the RSS feed, you’ll get them automatically.

  • I believe no. 3 is a quote from Kanye West/Daft Punk :)

  • @ Nikolas: Maybe Kanye West says it, but my wrestling team said that way back when I was in middle school, way before he even came on the scene. He must’ve stolen it from us. :)

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  • Marie

    Hi, I just wanted to say thank you for your honesty and vulnerability. I'm the leader of the youth ministry at my church in NYC. I often grow very discouraged and this blog has helped me to see that I'm not alone. I've had problems with people in my congregation…mistakes, misunderstandings, and gossip. Sometimes I want to run and never turn back. There have been other difficult situations that I have had to endure there as well. Although I have the support of my pastors and other leaders, everyday feels like a battle for my sanity. I love my teens, but I just don't want to hurt anymore. Today, I asked the Lord to let me know once and for all if this is where He wants me. God led me to the book of Jonah and also to this site. Your words have been an encouragement to me at a time when I need it most. I'm sure I'll be checking in often:) May the Lord bless you and your wife as well as your ministry.

  • Hey Marie! I totally understand how you feel. Glad this blog has encouraged you a bit.

    If you ever need advice on some of your situations, check out There's a community of ministry workers there who would love to give input into you and your ministry.

  • Mona

    I've just begun teaching a teen Sunday school class. I'm already feeling discouraged as the lessons that I must present to them do not seem geared toward their age group. Help! I need some resources that can be used to inspire them. Thanks for anything you throw my way.

    • The best thing is probably to talk to the youth leader you're serving with and ask them to provide something that's better suited for your age group. It's pretty impossible to recommend anything without knowing the age group, personalities, interests, struggles, and spiritual maturity of your teens.

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