A Youth Ministry Call or a Youth Ministry Job?

living-a-life-worthy-of-the-calling-650x487Would you sacrifice your calling for a job?

Let’s say, hypothetically, that you’ve been unemployed and virtually out of local church youth ministry for two years or so.  You’ve had a few opportunities to speak at camps and retreats, lead a Sunday school class here or there….but mostly, you’re out.

And then let’s just assume that you have kids rounding the bend of their senior year…or various and sundry other high school ‘stages of life.’  And school’s about to start.  And your kids have plenty of leadership positions to accompany their good grades and lifelong friendships to the prom.

And then, again all theoretically, you’ve had churches offering you jobs throughout this two-year process – good churches – with good people – and good pastors.

It can be easy to manufacture a calling where one does not exist.  It can be convenient to explain to God what you can make this one work.  It can be simple (and understandable) to just take the next one that comes along.  But it’s anathema to your calling.

Now let’s get real.

It can be easy to sacrifice your calling for a job….even a job in the field of your calling.  There are some good reasons to hold out for the Right place….

1.  People quit jobs when jobs get difficult.  Have you ever followed the saga of a teenager embarking on a McDonald’s mission?  You need to be fully committed to stay.  Calling helps you do that.  When you’re called, you endure.  The folks you’re heading toward need you to be called.

2. People give more passion to callings.  Sometimes jobs can feel mundane, boring, flat.  But callings make those same feelings bearable.  You need you to be called.

3.  No paycheck can stabilize your household, regardless of its origin.  When you pick a job over a calling, you sacrifice…and not in an admirable way.  And even though your family may enjoy the benefits of your regular income, they lose out in other ways.  Your wife and kids need you to be called.

4.  Usually the Holy Spirit is inextricably entwined in your calling.  When ministry becomes something that can be done without the indescribable, unexplainable touch of God, it’s just become a job.  Jesus needs you to be called.

Wait for what’s right.  Whatever sacrifices you are making in the meantime are hard…and good.  Be called…because ministry has to be more than your job.


Author: Darren Sutton

I've been in student ministry nearly 30 years…which generally just confirms how much I still don't know. Some days I'm the pizza-eating, over-responding, teaching-on-the-fly, desperate-for-volunteers, frustrated-with-co-workers youth leader that we all are. And sometimes…I knock it out of the park. I'm everywhere on social media that you are!

3 thoughts on “A Youth Ministry Call or a Youth Ministry Job?”

  1. Great post, Darren. I am waiting for what is right, too. Last week I just blogged about the SYMC 2009 ( it was NYMC in 2009) because God renewed my call for YM there. I wish you could read Portuguese…

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