Discouragement may be the single most powerful feeling that entices great women and men to exit prematurely from ministry. If you can learn how to navigate the realities of discouragement…you can have a fruitful ministry.

The ebb and flow of youth ministry can move you from feeling like you’re the most effective minister on the planet one week to planning your resignation letter the next and wonder, “Why do I feel this way?”

I try to recognize…
1. the task of youth ministry is difficult,
2. the hours are long, and
3. encouragement is minimal.

Discouragement is a fairly natural response when put in that perspective.

The causes of your discouragement could be any of the following:

● Lack of respect
● Too many calls and e-mails to return
● Miscommunication and misunderstanding
● Sleep deprivation because of a new baby
● Conflict
● Returning the church van with a dent…caused by your spouse
● Returning the church van with a dent…caused by the 14-year-old you let drive it
● Criticism
● Conflicting expectations
● No support from the senior pastor
● Minimal support from parents and volunteers
● Pastor’s kids
● Failure to please everyone
● Failure to please anyone
● Body parts scattered around the youth room
● Students who are difficult to like
● Financial struggles at home
● Financial struggles at church
● A failed program
● Sunday night after a long day
● A 24-hour lock-in on the calendar

I’ve experienced all of these. Some have left scars while others have just stung. Adding them up can influence how you feel about teenagers, ministry, the church, and even God.

Tomorrow, I’ll present 10 ideas of what I do when I’m discouraged.

What did I miss on my list? Share with me what discourages you.