A Leader in Crisis: I've Lost My Excitement

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Real questions & answers from Doug Fields about the crisis of losing excitement & passion in ministry.

Have you ever experienced a loss of excitement for youth ministry? For whatever reason, you found it more difficult to be fired-up to drive to youth group. When the night was done, you were glad you showed up because God did great things, but getting there definitely required more emotional effort than it used to. Well, if you can identify, you’re not alone.

We are continuing the series we began last week by looking at a few common issues that tend to send a leader into personal crisis.

Some might say that today’s youth ministry nugget is more aimed at the youth ministry veteran. That may be true, but if you can’t currently identify with a slight dip in excitement for ministry, file this away for later when it’s bound to appear.

It’s good to get into a groove with your ministry, but it can become dangerous to your leadership when the groove becomes a rut. Week after week, going to the same programs, doing the same things, seeing the same people, singing the same songs, and meeting in the same environment can lead to a “supposed to do,” and the routine can drain one’s passion.

How is it possible to get back the ministry equivalent of the “new car smell?”

If you and I were having coffee, and I knew you had lost some of your excitement for youth ministry, I’d simply ask a few trigger questions:
• What is it that you love about being a Christian?
• What is it that excites you about your faith?
• What’s so great about your relationship with Jesus?

It would be fun to hear how God has worked in your life. The next question would be:
• Are you sharing this excitement/love/passion with the teenagers God has entrusted to your care?

The best type of relational ministry to teenagers is one that appears from an overflow of the work of God in our own heart. When a youth worker gets trapped in the routine, they forget to share what’s important and that’s a recipe that results in apathy.

Consider recharging your passion by making a small change with your personal ministry to students. Perhaps it’s time to shift your responsibilities and add something new or pull back somewhere so you don’t hit burn out. Or maybe it’s time to take a break for a short season. You don’t want to quit altogether just because you’ve lost a little passion, but stepping back could do wonders to restore your excitement for youth ministry.

A recommendation:  Ask yourself, “What is God doing in my life during this season of my ministry? How can I learn to trust Him in new ways?” Trusting God is especially important when we’re discouraged. If we don’t surrender to Him, we will rely on our own strength to do ministry. This kind of self-sufficiency will move you from a dependency on Jesus to a dependency on self. When this happens, the molehill of excitement grows into a mountain of pride.

Are you sharing your personal passions with your students? Is it time to make some kind of a small change? Where is God working in your life through the lessening of your excitement?

Doug Fields Doug Fields has been in youth ministry since 1979 and former pastor to students at Saddleback Church in Southern California. He's the author of 50+ books, including the best-selling Purpose-Driven Youth Ministry & Your First Two Years in Youth Ministry. He's also the founder of Simply Youth Ministry, an instructor at Azusa Pacific University/HomeWord, and on the leadership team with Youth Specialties. You can connect with Doug through his blog at www.downloadyouthministry.com! More from Doug Fields or visit/subscribe to Doug's blog at www.dougfields.com

More from Doug Fields or visit Doug at http://www.dougfields.com

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