I think one of the sad realities of being a youth pastor is that we are most likely not going to have a lot of job security. I realize that this is not the case in every situation, but a number of us will be fired from a church at some point in their career.
Here are a few lessons I learned from losing my job at a church.
- Don't Get Bitter. When you lose your job, it is very likely that you will have some anger. This is perfectly natural. Be angry, but do not sin. Be careful not to say anything ugly or hateful and please do not post anything on the internet. You cannot take those things back. Whatever anger you have, you need to release it. There were three people that I blame for me losing my job. I don't know what role they played in it, but I blamed them. Here's the thing, though: my anger did not affect them. It hurt me. It hurt my family and my friends, but the three that I was angry at were not affected. They probably didn't even know I was angry at them. I had to let the anger go and not get bitter. Bitterness does nothing.
- Move On. After you are no longer at a church, you cannot have any say in what happens at the church. All of the programs and plans you had made may or may not continue. There is nothing you can do about it and worrying about it isn't going to help. My wife and I found out that some of the activities we were responsible for at the church fell apart the first weekend we were not there. It made my wife upset, but we were not responsible for them any longer. Anything that happened for that point on was not on us and we needed to let it go.
- Be Prepared For a Range of Emotions. I went through an entire range of emotions. At first, I couldn't believe that it had happened. Then I got very angry, both at the pastor and the three individuals that I held responsible. I got depressed and upset, not knowing what I was going to do next. I even tried to convince myself that there was a chance that things could change. Only recently have I come to accept the fact that that particular chapter of my life is over. If you aren't prepared for the roller coaster you are about to experience, it can really shake your faith.
Losing your job or getting fired from a church really sucks. It is painful and it might feel like the world is ending. Here's what you have to hold on to: if God called you to ministry, there will be other opportunities. Keep trusting Him and He will direct your paths.