Youth pastor burn out is unavoidable.
Pain is part of the youth pastor job description. Does experiencing pain and exhaustion season a youth pastor? One of the biggest negative aspects of being a youth pastor is that working with students stunts our emotional and life growth.
Many youth pastors try so hard to dodge the “burn out” bullet.
We try to take more days off, vacations, see a psycho-therapist, take a monthly spiritual retreat, and pursue spiritual formation but it seems like we are only left with more exposed pain, exhaustion, and burn out. There is this belief that if you burn out, you are a bad youth pastor because apparently you didn’t take enough days off or establish healthy boundaries. I think the exact opposite is true.
America’s best youth pastors are the youth workers who have learned and persevered through their many painful and hurtful church experiences. The youth pastors that persevere make it, but the youth pastors that live in the past and become jaded don’t make it.
My point – the best youth pastors are the youth pastors who burn out or get burned because very early on they learn to forgive and to let go.
So the questions are:
How are youth pastors going to recover after the burn out?
Is burn out really unavoidable? If so, name and describe one youth minister (who has been in youth ministry for 5+ years) who has been in youth ministry and not been burned or burnt out?
How can experiencing pain or being burned in a church context season a youth pastor for the ultimate good?
** This post was inspired by Anne Jackson’s book: Mad Church Disease: Overcoming the Burn Out Epidemic