I’ve been at the Kirk since October 2009.
In that amount of time the interim Sr. High Pastor went to Arkansas, our first assistant got married, then our second one got married, then our third one went to Colorado to work in another ministry, then our Sr. High Pastor went to another part of Oklahoma, and our team leader got bumped up into a new role outside the youth ministry.
Since October 2009 I’ve seen one intern move to Colorado, another became a youth pastor in Tulsa, and our worship intern moved back to Costa Rica.
One pair of our volunteers took a youth ministry position in South Carolina, one volunteer moved to Louisiana, one moved to Chicago, one will be out of the country for 11 months, we had to “fire” two volunteers, one volunteer committed suicide, and five more “retired” from youth ministry after many years of service.
On top of all that, the sobering stat is that the average stay for a youth pastor at a church is 12-18 months, so it seems like every time I start to make new youth pastor friends in town, they move soon after.
Ministry is hard because it seems like everyone leaves. It’s even more painful when we hear that our students have started attending somewhere else. We do take it personally. We do get frustrated. We do get tired of the turnover.
But don’t let the turnover tame you. It’s hard. But it’s never boring. Keep recruiting. Keep doing contact work. Keep making disciples. Because despite the turnover, we still have a 16 person volunteer team with more combined years in youth ministry than the three pastors on our staff. We have a support volunteer team of about 20 additional people, eager to serve and help us win. We have a network of youth pastors that HAVE stayed in the area. And we have a senior leadership at the church that is for us.
Everyone leaves. But not everyone leaves a legacy. Stay resolute.