Getting Fired for the Glory of God
Contributed by Patrick Wilkerson
Youth Minister at Beaver Creek CPC
Presbytery of East Tennessee
Getting Fired for the Glory of God by Mike Yaconelli, 2008
If you have spent any time in youth ministry you have without a doubt been frustrated, hurt, or had feelings of wanting to find a new career. The fact is, in the eyes of the church, you are often times considered, as I have word for word been told before, “the low man [or woman] on the totem pole.” I believe, however, that in the Kingdom you are much more than what it often feels like. What an honor and privilege to spend your days serving God by working and growing with young people. So, thank you for what you do.
The truth is that youth ministry is a great calling from God. It isn’t something you do on Sunday’s and Wednesday’s. It isn’t a temporary job you do until you become a Senior Pastor. It is a calling from God to love students unconditionally and to show them God and what it means to have a personal relationship with the Creator of all things.
In the book, Getting Fired For the Glory of God, we find the words of long time youth worker and co-founder of Youth Specialties Mike Yaconelli. After Mike passed away in 2003, many of his most profound articles and messages were put together in this book to encourage, guide, affirm youth ministers, and to warn of the dangers of certain short falls in youth ministry. I love this book. It is a quick read and after 11 years of youth ministry I found myself saying, “Yes, yes, he gets me. Someone else understands how I feel.”
My favorite part of the book is a chapter titled “How Pastors Can Keep Youth Workers.” In this message from March of 2003 Yaconelli shares about the fact that youth workers only stay at a church for an average of 18 months. He gives 16 points that a pastor or a church could do to keep a youth minister longer. After all, “A happy youth worker is a long-term youth worker” (106). Every church that has a youth minister should read these tips. I’ll even take it a step further and say that all of our churches should read this for not just youth ministers, but all of their pastoral staff.
Do yourself a favor. Get online or go to the store and get this book. This is a must read for volunteers, youth ministers, ministers, sessions, and anyone who wants to make sure their youth minister is healthy physically, spiritually, and mentally. Healthy enough to successfully complete the calling that God has given them.