How to Commit Youth Ministry Suicide
Today, I told God to shove it.
Actually, I used much more colorful language than that, but I’ve censored myself, because GROUP is a family magazine. The sad truth is, I meant it. I hate youth ministry. I’m quitting—so I’m going to “throw mama from the train.” I’m using my escape-hatch from this so-called “wonderful life” and jumping off the nearest bridge. And I don’t care. What difference does it make?
More to the point… What difference do I make?
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Was it a dream or a psychological phenomenon or the eggs benedict talking? I don’t know—but as soon as What difference doI make? flashed across by brain, I “heard” a Voice respond:
What difference do you make? Are you really questioning that? Why did you stay in youth ministry all these years if you really didn’t believe you were making a difference?
“Whoever you are,” I snapped, “that whole ‘calling’ thing was God’s idea, and I don’t care what he thinks anymore. Didn’t you hear? I’m committing ministry suicide—from this point on I’ll live as if none of it ever happened.”
The Voice then morphed into the embodied head of a woman, shaking back-and-forth with disgust and answering in a vaguely familiar voice: Well, okay—have it your way. Have it your way…
“Good!” I growled angrily. “Finally, some peace and quiet…” And then, dramatically, the curtains fluttered and a cold wind rushed past me through the TV room. A real movie moment… but I shrugged it off. I stretched out in my Barcalounger, ready to go brain-dead in front of a flickering screen, but my two sons blocked my view, screaming and wrestling and laughing. “Boys, move out of the way! I can’t see Judge Judy.”
The boys paused for a moment, looked back at me with slight grins, and got back to their roughhousing.
“Boys, did you hear me? Move over, please.”
Again. No response. So I racheted-up to my “Mad Dad” voice—not quite yelling, but definitely not an inside voice. “BOYS...”
Don’t waste your breath, interrupted the Voice, clearly mocking me. They won’t be listening to you any time soon.
“Why not?” I demanded.
Because you quit.
“I didn’t quit on being a dad, or the head of this home—I just quit on ministry.”
Yes, but the example of obedience and faithfulness that your kids have admired in you all these years has died right along with your ministry. They’re not motivated to obey you because you’re no longer motivated to obey God.
And now I’m fuming...
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