Terminated Youth Ministers

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Being terminated might be one of the most stressful and painful experiences a youth minister can have. If you have been terminated or you fear you may be, here are few random thoughts:

  1. Even if we have never met, I hurt for you.
  2. This world is marked by the Curse. Completely. And that is how it will be until we get to the New Earth. Keep focusing on New Earth. We spend three seconds down here and then forever on New Earth. Look forward to an exuberant life with Jesus, family, teenagers, friends, and beloved professors forever.
  3. Your church is marked by the Curse. All are, but some more than others. Christ knew that, but He still loved His bride and died for her. My wife is imperfect, but I do not love her less. I will not give up on my bride and I will not abandon my bride. And I am only human. Imagine Christ’s great love for his very flawed bride.
  4. The meanest people in your church likely are lost. Lost people act like lost people. Some perform abortions and some rob banks. But some lost people are drawn to the religious world. They like the power they find there, etc. Do not let lost people at church surprise you. (And do not allow their presence to keep you from celebrating those who are deeply in love with Jesus).
  5. If you have to leave, it will not be the end of life. Tens of thousands of ministers with firm callings, gifts, and abilities have been through the same thing. It will not be easy and you will weep much, but you will survive. I buried twin girls and dismantled the nursery we had prepared for them. Not much is worse than that. Jesus really is faithful—it is not just a trite expression. He will walk you into the next chapter of life.
  6. Spend many hours listening to your wife—and holding her. In some ways, this will be harder on her than on you. Don’t get distracted by your pain. Be there for her. Slow down and look in her eyes and listen to her.
  7. Exercise every day, whether you want to or not. Your body has to get rid of toxins that your stress is creating. Otherwise, your health will collapse a few months from now.
  8. The best you can, try to do solid student ministry. It is easier to change churches when you keep doing what you know to do. (Do this even though some days you may not even want to go to church).
  9. Try your best not to create enemies. No matter what others do, just decide you are not going to create a black list. Try your best to be loving and to turn the other cheek.
  10. Take the high road. Do not gossip. Do not talk behind anyone’s back.
  11. Do not “set the record straight” as you leave. Do not fire a parting shot from the pulpit or in a mass email to the membership. This ALWAYS will backfire on you and will harm your future. Be gracious. Be humble. Walk with your head held high.
  12. Find a deeply trusted friend outside the church that you can be entirely open with. Sometimes you will need to vent without causing harm within the church membership. And, your spouse does not need to be the one
  13. Worship at least half an hour before you leave the house each morning. Your time before the throne will give you strength through the day. Otherwise, you will dry up. If you are too mad to pray some days, try walking and praying at the same time.
  14. Let the docs know how we can help you with transitions—if it comes to that.

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