Saying Goodbye to Student Ministry

There comes a time in every youth pastor’s life when they ask themselves, “Is it time to leave student ministry?” Sometimes this question is prompted by serving at a bad church, doing a lock-in, or when you’ve eaten pizza every night of the week. Yet, there are times when the question is prompted while the church is good, students are growing, and life couldn’t get any better. I imagine we all go through both scenarios, and for those who are dealing with the lock-ins, my advice to you is to hang in there! However, for those who are in green pastures and are restless, my advice is completely different.

That’s where I was a year ago. I’ve been serving at my church for four years, and I can honestly say life was, and still is, good. Yet something was off, and I couldn’t get away from it. I knew I wasn’t burn out, and I didn’t have an itch to scratch about leaving my church. Little did I know, God wasn’t calling me to leave my church, but student ministry altogether.

At the beginning of the year, my church extended me the call to be their associate pastor. I knew I wasn’t going to be in youth ministry forever, but I never knew when I was going to transition out. As I reflect on what has happened over the past year, I know that I’m not alone. I know there are other youth pastors out there that are asking the same question, but are not sure how to go about it or how to confirm it.

Knowing this, I decided to write a series of blog post to give some guidance to those who are wrestling with the idea of transitioning out of student ministry, Plus, my own reflections on student ministry as a whole. If you’re asking the question, here’s what you get to look forward to:

  • What I Will Miss About Student Ministry
  • What I Won’t Miss About Student Ministry
  • The Question Every Youth Pastor Needs to Ask Themselves
  • Age Does Matter
  • How to Prepare For Life After Student Ministry
  • Transition Where You Are
  • Where I hope To See Student Ministry Go

In the end, I’m looking forward to having an honest conversation about what it means to step into a new calling. Moreover, I’m looking forward to hearing from you about your own experience, or answering any questions you may have.


    • Thanks Ben! Working with and being a part of the youth ministry community has been a fantastic experience!
  1. Hi Josh, Thanks for this post (and thanks in advance for the series). I've been in youth ministry for over 13 years (9 voluntary, 4 as paid staff). This June, I'm stepping down from leading this ministry that I've been a part of since its inception at my church. Like you, life is good. Church is good. But I know God is telling me it's time to step away. Even though I knew it would happen one day, it was still hard to accept. But that was 6 months ago, I'm at peace now. Thank God. Looking forward to your series. -Yong.
    • Thanks for the encouraging words Young! Keep an eye out for the rest of the series. I would love for you to add your thoughts to the series. There's so much to grapple with, and I know I don't have all the answers, so having others who can add to the dialogue would be amazing.

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