Youth Ministry Lows
WARNING: After the Youth Ministry High Comes the Low
It happens to the best of us. We get into a funk.
It shouldn’t be this way – summer ministry was incredible, camp was great – the biggest and best ever. Lives were changed and students made huge leaps in their spiritual decisions. You were so happy, filled with tears even, as you baptized that one student or watched someone give their life to Christ. The deacons and elders are thrilled. The senior pastor even kind of nodded as you reported the good news back to the church.
But here you are, in your church basement office, ready to throw in the towel.
You’ve been cruising all summer on a youth ministry high, crushing Satan with ease and seeing victory after victory. But you can’t shake it. You’re in the youth ministry low.
They usually follow each other. From my experience in youth ministry, they are usually closely connected; even seem to sneak up on you unaware. If that’s you today – you join a long line of people in ministry who got down right after a big ministry high. Let me remind you of some greats who got kicked down pretty far after massive ministry successes:
READ JONAH 1-4
Our boy Jonah, prophet of Nineveh and Shark Week Survivor, sat under a vine after the wicked people of Nineveh turned to God. He was just part of an amazing life change, but was stuck in a terrible low:
When God saw what they had done and how they had put a stop to their evil ways, he changed his mind and did not carry out the destruction he had threatened. This change of plans greatly upset Jonah, and he became very angry …
READ 1 Kings 18-19
A great prophet in the Bible and a great story from Sunday School class as a kid. Prophets of Baal, fire from Heaven, God shows up. Happily ever after … but not really:
He replied again, “I have zealously served the Lord God Almighty. But the people of Israel have broken their covenant with you, torn down your altars, and killed every one of your prophets. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me, too.”
So there you have 2 greats, maybe just coming off a summer of incredible ministry. One is angry. One is lonely. Both are having pity parties for themselves. Been there. Maybe you ARE there.
But I’m not going to just write out 3 happy hops to happiness today. I don’t think it is that easy or fair to just whisk away these feelings that are genuine and painful. I’m going to leave it right here in just a bit of a funk, too, and let Scripture and this youth ministry community take it from here.
Think of a time when you were in a youth ministry low.
What did you do to get out of it?
Offer some help to other youth workers feeling like Jonah or Elijah today!
JOSH GRIFFIN is the co-founder of DOWNLOAD YOUTH MINISTRY and the creator of tons of resources, books and trainings for youth workers. He’s the High School Pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, CA, the father of 4 and been in youth ministry for more than 20 years.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the YS Blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of YS.