Burned out by 25

It seemed like a match made in heaven. I graduated from a Christian college with a degree in Bible and three months later I was installed as youth pastor at the Church I grew up at.

By nature I am a dreamer and visionary, so I entered the ministry with many ideas of how to revolutionize and enhance the church and its ministry to the community. I quickly discovered that the people of my church had an unhealthy attachment to traditions and "the way we've always done it". Don't get me wrong, the people were friendly and nice to me, but I could find little support for my ideas, goals, and visions. Furthermore, the youth I served were nearly impossible to motivate and seemed to care much more about entertainment and comedy than their spiritual growth. But, I put my nose to the grindstone and plowed away for over two years, convinced that I was going to make a difference and be the catalyst for change in my church.

Then, I experienced a demoralizing several weeks near the end of the summer and realized that I was wasting my time trying to change people who has no interest being changed. First, I had ideas for a community outreach shot down because some parents believed evangelism and discipleship of non-Christians could lead to their teenage daughters being impregnated by boys from the community. Then I got verbally attacked by two of my leaders and two of the youth because I was unwilling to make our annual missions trip into what would be effectively a vacation. At that point, I decided I had no future at the church, nor did I have the energy to keep fighting. So, two weeks before my 25th birthday, I announced to the congregation that I would be stepping down as youth pastor.

Young adults aren't supposed to burn out, but it happens to the best of us. I have no idea what the future holds, but I'm counting down the days until I escape from my own personal purgatory.

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