I’ve been in youth ministry for almost 15 years now in just two churches, and there’s a reality that I’ve experienced many times over and it never gets any easier. People leave.
Over the past few years in ministry, I’ve experienced more turnover than I ever imagined I would. Interns naturally come and go – that’s one thing, but losing long-time friends, staff and key volunteers is usually unexpected and never seems to get any easier. Sure when some people leave an it isn’t an entirely bad thing (I’ve had personal praise and worship nights after transitioning out a rogue volunteer small group leader) so I suppose that is part of life, too. But “doing life” with these people and being close friends with your team and their families makes transitions like these difficult.
Here’s the reality of your youth ministry team in the next year:
- Some good people are going to leave your church and go to a church in the area.
- Some people on your team are going to move away because of a job-related or family situation.
- Some people are going to be poured into and trained to be incredible, then immediately be sent out to serve in other ministries.
- Some people just need to take a break and are going to take a season off.
- Some people on your team are just going to burnout, give-up or quit.
And sometimes, God asks people to make a big move that you don’t fully understand because He hasn’t let you in on His plan yet.
When God calls, let them go. And until then, train them, love them, fight for them, bleed with them, share with them and believe in them like they’ll be serving by your side for the rest of their lives. And if and when He moves, be OK with what God is up to.
Hold your people loosely.