I have been a leader in ministry for the better part of 20 years. During that time, I have seen a lot of highs and lows. I have seen the Church be a beacon of hope for the world and also a place that could use some improvement, to say the least. I think there’s a reason that the relationship between God and the Church is often compared to a marriage. My wife and I have been married for eight years and we’ve had our highs and lows; our ups and downs. But in the end, we love each other and have each other’s best interest at heart.
No matter what good or bad things I’ve seen at the local Church, I know that, in the end, the Church is the vessel that God uses to transform and change lives. We should all want to see the Church be successful. We should all want the Church to follow Christ.
As I was scouring iTunes the other day, I came across a podcast that was created by disgruntled former church workers, for disgruntled church workers. As I listened, I was shocked at what I was hearing. Each episode was an hour long “airing of grievances” of the Church’s failures. Their opinions weren’t helpful. They offered no solutions. It bothered me greatly and still bothers me now.
If you Google “lifespan of a youth leader,” you usually wind up with 18 months to 2 years. That’s the average length of stay at a given church for a youth leader. Worship leaders aren’t much longer. Gone are the days where a pastor stays at a church for 30-40 years. Church staff members leave their churches for a variety of reasons, but the complete departure from ministry rate is astounding. It saddens me when church leaders get so frustrated that they leave the Church altogether. I know that frustrations and trials will come, but the Church is still the Bride of Christ.
Instead of bashing the Church, offer solutions. Have I thought about leaving full-time ministry? Of course! But it’s come with the condition that if I did, I would be a “rock star,” reliable volunteer at my church that the leadership can count on regularly. Forsaking the Church, as a whole, isn’t the answer. It’s actually one of the reasons we started Concepts in Ministry. It began in order to give leaders and volunteers the resources and support they needed to succeed in their own ministries. We know that everyone doesn’t have a strong support system around them. Instead of telling you to “give up,” we want to tell you to “keep going and here’s some Gatorade to help!”
I know that your ministry career will be like a roller coaster; filled with ups and downs. Focus on the highs. Learn from the lows. Encourage others around you and build one another up. Offer solutions to help the Church reach more people and don’t discourage others from following God’s call. By working together, we can live out the Great Commission: “…Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you…” Matthew 28:18-20