Every few weeks, I hear about youth workers who need new jobs.

  • Sometimes they leave because they want to
  • Sometimes they’re asked to leave. We call this a forced resignation.
  • Other times, they’re outright fired

When I started to learn about how devastating the effects of youth worker turnover are for the local church, I started doing some research. I discovered several themes – the easiest and most common factors that cause good youth workers lose or leave their jobs. Make sure you’re not one of them

If you want to stay in youth ministry for the long haul, don’t do these five things:

1. Mismanage budgeted money. Depending on your theology, it’s either God’s money or other people’s money. Either way, it’s not your money. You’ve been given the responsibility to be a good steward of some of your church’s resources. You might not know what you’re doing yet, but you’ll need to figure it out soon. (This link contains all kinds of good information about managing your church’s money better.)

2. Fight with your Senior Pastor – especially publicly. One problem with working in the Church is that many of your friends will come from the congregation. We all like to vent about our bosses, but if you’re venting to a fellow pew-sitter, you’re in the wrong. If you’re in the business of creating division in the Church, you won’t be a staff member for very long.

3. Show up late for your own events. Parents have their own jobs with their own responsibilities. They know exactly what would happen to them if they slept through their alarm more than once. You can expect the same thing to happen to you.

4. Work way too hard and never, ever take a break. Your own soul care ought to be a top priority. When you’re worn down and hurting, you’ll be less effective as a youth worker. Less effective youth workers frequently become baristas. Besides that, a lack of soul care is the easiest way to make sure you run yourself out of youth ministry. The church doesn’t have to fire you if you get exhausted and quit.

5. Refuse to participate in the larger life of the congregation. You’ll appear much more dispensable if the rest of the congregation never sees you – or your youth group.

Find ways for you and your students to become a crucial part of everything the congregation does. Crucial people are much more difficult to fire.

Now it’s your chance to be the teacher. What is one of the money mistakes you’ve made? How did you fix it?

Aaron Helman is on a mission to help end the epidemic of youth worker burnout. He writes Smarter Youth Ministry to help youth workers with their biggest frustrations. He is also the youth minister at Firehouse Youth Ministries in South Bend, Indiana.

For all of you Apple fanboys and girls out there, you know about the free release of iOS 6. Have you downloaded it yet? The newest update has some great features on it, including a new Maps that has turn-by-turn instructions, the Passbook app that integrates your life and phone use better, and Do Not Disturb feature for your phone.

For the pastors with an iPhone that are not sure if it is worth the 15 minutes that it would take to download and install onto your phone, let me tell you that doing so could save your soul. Seems like a bold statement but hear me out.

We need our rest, we need time with family, and we must have those moments with the Lord. It seems so hard to be able to put margin in our lives, to have the solid boundaries so that we are honoring God, family, and ourselves, and it almost seems selfish when so much hurt is going on. Yet, we always regret when we do not do it.

We Have Good Intentions…
We may have all been there, you have the good intentions of taking 24 hours for a Sabbath, not talking on the phone at supper with your spouse and/or family, and going to bed on time. Unfortunately, “important” phone calls and texts come up that really do not seem so important after the fact, we feel guilty for hitting the ignore button, and we use the excuse that we are not doing anything important. Time with God, family, and for self is VITAL! Thus the Do Not Disturb feature becomes amazing!

Do Not Disturb
Check it out now. Serious, download it, install it, and open it now from Settings > Notifications > Do Not Disturb. I’ll wait.

Okay, you will see the screen below that allows you to turn it on (do it!), schedule when it should block phone calls, and who you will allow phone calls from. I have personally elected to not allow phone calls to come in while I am asleep. My favorites section has family and my supervising pastor only as well as I have turned on the Repeated Calls for those who may have an emergency and call twice in three minutes. No one else has the ability to grab my attention after 10PM and before 7AM.

Why Is This Important?
Too many pastors get distracted because a text message comes up, an email buzzes our phone, or a call comes in from the volunteer of women’s ministry, we take it, and then we undervalue those we are with. To not give your spouse your time could long-term jeopardize your marriage, ignoring your family makes you that father who is there… but not really there, only giving God part of your life is dishonoring.

iOS 6 is the practical way of ensuring you have the boundaries and promoting the priorities you have in life. What other tech tips do you have to ensure you honor the priorities in your life?

Jeremy Smith is a youth worker at the Air Force Academy chapel, working for Club Beyond, and attending Denver Seminary for his Masters of Arts in Counseling Ministries. He has been involved in Youth for Christ for eight years — check out his blog at Seventy8Productions.