youth worker, youth ministry, student ministry, ready to leave

Ready to Leave

By Doug Franklin April 27, 2012

This is the time of year many of us think about finding a different church. All the other jobs in ministry have to be better than yours. Yet if that were true, why do so many other youth pastors want to change churches? I don’t think all churches are bad, I don’t even think some are. I think that youth pastors need to do a better job of “discovery” before they take a job. Many of us take a job because we want the work and we love students, so what is the big deal? Well the big deal is your happiness. When you are in the wrong job, life is miserable. Your wife and kids suffer and you lose your respect for the church. Finding the right church is important and not impossible, you just have to be cautious when interviewing. Try and “discover” the following when seeking a new position:


1. Work environment

Ask a lot of questions about how the staff works together. If you enjoy a collaborative team and the church staff are all lone rangers you are going to dislike working there, even if the pay is great and the students seem wonderful. To really understand the kind of work environment you want you need to understand yourself. Take some time and write down the chartertistics of the perfect work place … Think through relationships, schedule and work space. This will help you make good decisions about serving in a church.


2. Leadership relationship

All churches have different ways of leading a church which is good but how the youth pastor relates to these leaders is key for you. If you have an expectation of being mentored by an older leader ask to talk with another who has been mentored. If you want to spend time with your senior pastor ask about how many times per month will you be meeting with the pastor. These questions will tell you a ton about this church.


3. Money, Money & Money

You better ask lots of discovery questions about money. Pay and budget are just the start. Ask about how much parents are willing to pay for their student to participant in events. Ask about the church budget for the past 7 years, is it going up or down? Spend as least 30% of your questions on money. If you have a problem in the first two years it will have to do with money at some point.


4. The past

Most churches try and hire the opposite of the past youth worker. You NEED to know about him or her. Because a lot of perspective on youth ministry is based on this person’s performance. If the past youth worker was great and had been there 10 years you need to know that you are never going to add up and you will need to make no changes for the next 3 years. If the past youth workers didn’t communicate with parents you need to know that parents will not trust you for the first 3 years. The past matters and you need to understand it in order to make a good decision about a job.

About the Author

Doug Franklin

Doug Franklin is the president of LeaderTreks, an innovative leadership development organization focusing on students and youth workers. Doug and his wife, Angie, live in West Chicago, Illinois. They don’t have any kids, but they have 2 dogs that think they are children. Diesel and Penelope are Weimaraners  who never leave their side. Doug grew up in…  Read More