Comforting Words for New Youth Ministers – Part 3


This series seeks to provide comfort and guidance for new youth ministers. The series includes narratives from youth ministers in their first year of ministry (Article #1 and Article #2) and advice from veteran youth ministers to rookies.

So how am I feeling about my new job in youth ministry?

The simple and honest answer: I am tired.

I am four months into my new job in youth ministry and I am barely catching my breath. I shot out of the cannon with vigor and enthusiasm and am now making the recovery from a rather large road bump of exhaustion and migraine headaches. It is not surprising considering four months ago I started my job off with a week- long retreat and have been moving at a steady pace ever since. From the moment I hit the ground running I have had girls seeking out time and answers from me, and the list of about 200 high school girls on our list continues to grow.

But perhaps the more pertinent reality is that in the past four months I have not been faithful to protect my altar time before the Lord. And, no, I have not been faithful to position myself to be filled up so that I may pour out. I have not sought to measure my success in my job through the lens of my Heavenly Father’s eyes. And my chair designated for my prayer time has been vacant for quite some time.

The result: I am running on empty. If only the solution was as simple as it is obvious. Or maybe it is. But if there are always more girls to connect with, always a broken and hurting student needing my attention, always program to plan, always work to be done, how do we rest easy at night knowing I have done my job that day to the best of my ability? How do I feel that I have completed for that day what I needed to do? How do I decide when to carve out time for myself when I know the names of the girls who will potentially cry themselves to sleep that night?

My boss graciously and frequently reminds all of our staff of the story of Martha and Mary in Luke 10, verses 38-42. But I am realizing how much more of a challenge it is to be like Mary when my job feels a whole lot like Martha planning, coordinating, and caring for those in our church home. But, yet, I long to have the attitude and poster of Mary. But how?

This week, I have the weighty job of meeting with a girl who had severely victimized and for the first time is seeking out help on how to cope and heal. How do I handle such a responsibility? What truth do I offer her? The Lord’s promise to her is that, “My yoke is easy and my burden is light.” He says, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28-30).  I want her to believe that the Lord can take her grief and shame. And, yet, am I even believing and walking in that same truth for myself?

I have reached a point in my job when I am feeling more inadequate, more humbled than ever, but at the same time I am so thankful that four months in and I am finally moving into the place the Lord wants and needs to me be. Am I actually more pliable and more usable for His ways now? I hope so.

My hope is not that the Lord will transform my next talk into an eloquent and understandable masterpiece rather than the stumbling mess of a talk I gave last week, nor for my capacity for connecting with girls to double in size. But my hope is that I can more genuinely communicate the message of Christ’s truth and love while walking faithfully in His promise of an easy yoke and a light burden.  So today, more than ever, I cling to the Lord’s promise that He uses the weak things of the world for His purposes.

1 Corinthians 1: 26-30 says, “For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong… And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”


Join our mailing list to stay informed