My Resignation as a Youth Pastor: A Lesson in Spiritual Leadership

Date: 10 Jun 2010 Comments: 5 so far

As of June 4, 2010, I am no longer serving as a youth pastor for Agape Baptist Church. I actually made my public resignation on May 26, 2010 but set the end date to be June 4, 2010 because that would allow me time to easily transition the reigns to a new leader. What happens now? That’s for God to know and me to learn about.

However, I feel that it is only expected that I explain the situations leading to that decision for any who may read this blog. You see, I work full time in a high-demand, high-stress IT job for a large government contracting firm. This company pays me well for the job but the stress levels associated with it almost make the salary only meagerly acceptable. In this season, my company is going through some major adjustments and growth as we take on several new projects. As these projects launched, there is an immesne amount of activity in a very small amount of time, a good part of this involves the IT setup as the new office must have working computers, some have specialzed technology added to their area, sometimes there is just a whole lot of people to on-board. This was the first prong that led to my breakdown.

Next of all, I have been attending seminary for almost a year doing all of my classes online. I am pursuing a Master’s which is already rather intense in of itself but it is further intensified by the fact that I am taking a full 3 credit hours in half the time of a standard class. Most classes at a standard university run for about 16 weeks but I was determined to take the accelerated format which requires the class to be crammed into half the time. For some classes, this is not a major challenge as the classes don’t have an intense amount of work but many of the classes have a lot of work. There are times I would sleep, maybe 5 hours in a night because I had to work my full job, come home and help around the house with my daughter (who I love completely but often is very challenging), and spend whatever time left working on homework. Add the fact that I had to do lots of research on many classes, mix it with the fact that I still have to have a lesson ready to teach at Sunday School and a lesson to teach on Wednesday night and top it off with the fact that I often had special youth activities to create and manage. This creates prong two of the breakdown.

Lastly, the ministry is not a position for the faint of heart, any person who has served in this role understands that when you are a spiritual leader, the Devil will attack in full force because he wants to own you. It is his desire to shut down your faith and leave you crippled so he can take you over and corrupt the ministry you have been placed in. This is the spiritual side but it does not materialize as the red-horned fiend whipping you with a Cat-O-Nine-Tails, no, the Devil is far trickier than that! Instead, he prefers to drop tiny failures into your normal spiritual work, then, he intensifies those failures by making them more visible. Once this stage is complete, he finds ways to get at the hearts of your people and make the failures and mistakes you make MUCH worse looking then they already are. At last, he buids the animosity toward you to a high level and then, causes the people who are supposed to support you the most, to leave you face down in the ground. The strong leader gets back up and walks again, but I was not one of them. This is the third and final prong on my breakdown.

When it all crashed down, I felt like I was buried under my own commitments so deeply that I had no relief. The leadership of the church was placing higher and higher demands on me even though my job was part time, and the devil was slowly wearing away on my family until the edges started to crack. I was not leading my family, I was spiritually weak because I had not been fed on God’s word (I was too busy trying to preach it), I was even stressed out enough that I was taking it out on my lovely wife and precious daughter – the two greatest gifts God has ever given me. I threw up my hands and said “God! I need you to help me out of here!”

After lots of meditation over scripture, deep and introspective analysis of my own person, and battling repeatedly with trying to say “I am stronger than this!” when I felt “I am the weakest there is!” , God quietly told me I had overdone it this time. I always knew that I was overburdened but for as long as I can remember, that is the way I have always been. In college, I would work full time (almost) delivering pizzas, attend my classes, play video games, run various role-playing games both online and in my home, and still had time to hang out with my friends and spend time with my (then) girlfriend.

It was not easy to admit that I had finally done it – I had been burning the candle on both ends and in the middle for so many years that I simply caved in. I was exhausted in every possible way, I felt lost and alone, and in the middle of all this, the Devil used a few special people at the church to finally cut me in half. It wasn’t their fault and I do not blame them for it. Simply, the Devil used them and used them against me. I turned in my resignation because I realized that I was not spiritually mature enough to do what I was doing. I was flying by the seat of my pants in life and not leaning on God enough and it was starting to rot out everything else. Truly, you cannot do anything outside of mere existence without leaning on God. I realize that now and it has humbled me greatly and I plan on using the next period in my life to spend more time in the pew, and little to no time on the podium. I need to get myself back to fully relying on God and walking so intimately with Him that I can see things like this coming long before they arrive. But until then, I need time to cool.

I am now in the process of trying a few different churches near the house to find the one that I feel is the best for Tiff and I to heal in. I am focusing more efforts on my child and on my family and friends than I have before. I am even trying to learn some more computer skills to aid me as I grow in my professional world. Will I return to a ministry position? Probably, but not until God has had plenty of time to help me although I don’t mind leading a Bible Study or two. Will I spend more time in God’s word? You betcha! I am trying to clear other things out of my crowded head so that I can focus on time with my God and king. Am I doing better? Definitely – but I have a gaping hole in my heart for the students that I was pastoring. I can no longer feed them, they must learn on their own and with other leaders to aid them. I just pray that I was open enough to the Holy Spirit that they were able to learn the vital things they need to grow in their own walk. Based on a few of the comments, I believe I did this job well. I thank the people who came forward and acknowledged this.

That being said, I am resigning as a would-be superman and returning to life as a spiritual child who is trying to learn from my spiritual father so that the next time God calls me to stand up, I will be ready to do as I am told.

  1. 5 Comments to “My Resignation as a Youth Pastor: A Lesson in Spiritual Leadership”

    1. Janettee McCrary says:

      I’m sorry that you’ve been going through so much:( I’ll be praying that you’re able to get some much-needed rest and recuperation, as well as understanding and support during your healing.


    2. Starnum says:

      Good luck dude. 😉

    3. Kim Roberts says:

      Wow….that takes a lot of courage to own up to something like this and say, “God, I can’t do it all even though I’ve tried to. I need You to lead me.” I applaude you for that. I also want to encourage you to keep striving for His will in your life. You will get there someday. I know it. But remember that life is a journey and that you will have twists and turns along the way. It’s not mapped out for us to see. If you ever would like to visit my church, it would be awesome to have you. We are a missions church. We just started this church in January. You could be in on the ground floor and as you heal and rest in God’s Word, you may find that there is a place for you here in ministry. I’ve never felt more at home than I do with this church. It’s awesome! I wish you well. May God be with you always and give you the comfort you need during this time.

    4. Wife says:

      Honey, I’m so proud of you. You really did give your all. and I know it was hard. I’m thankful that you surrendered to God, and let him take over. I also appreciate that you listened to me when I was being emotionally and spiritually burdened. God has put us together, healed our broken marriage, and placed you in our lives for a reason. Mady and I love you very much, and we’re thankful that we have you, 🙂

    5. Sharon Winslow says:


      I’ve had these same lessons in life and spiritual leadership through the years. Every church we were ever in, the devil found ways to cause problems. Some we overcame, some we didn’t. But I do know one thing….God was always in control! Continue to seek His face and follow His will. I pray His will be done in your life and that of your sweet family.

      And, dad-gum-it, I was looking forward to getting to know my cousin better.

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