Dealing With Loneliness In Youth Ministry
Ministry can be a very lonely vocation, especially student ministry. The hurts and stresses of the work aren't always easily shared with church members. And the concentration of time spent with teenagers isolates us from interactions with friends and peers.
So how can a youth minister overcome loneliness?
First, remember the Bible says that God desires a relationship with us. Relationship, real relationship, is one of sthe language God uses to communicate His love for us.
"Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me."--Revelation 3:20
Remember not to do things to shut God out of your life. If at first this sounds like an odd thing to say, think about this: Haven't you been so caught up in ministering that you forgot to have fellowship with God? Have you abandoned your devotion time for a few days? A few weeks? While it's never something we do intentionally, it does happen. We have to remember that our relationship with God is the number one consideration in our lives.
Next, find a group of youth ministers and network with them. Some of the best youth workers I know are a product of meaningful youth worker networks where youth ministers from different denominations and church sizes meet regularly for encouragement and training. Get to know the people in your area who work with students and find time to talk with them. If there is an existing youth worker network, join it. If you don't have a network, start one.
Finally, don't let your work get in the way of your family or friendships. Now, stop for a second . . . Don't just pass over that last point! How many times have you heard not to let your ministry come before your family? But how many times has it? It really is absolutely vital for your personal well-being and your spiritual health to keep things in the proper perspective. Your work as a youth minister may one day end, but your friends and especially your family will always be there.
Loneliness sometimes creeps into the life of a youth worker. But it doesn't have to stick around.
Hopefully, you'll never know loneliness in your work as a youth minister. But if you do, teh goal is that you would turn to God and seek His comfort and companionship, trusting in His sufficiency to meet all of your needs.