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The Most Overused Word Ever Amongst Youth Pastors

Being from Europe, I really had to get used to how Americans greet each other. But I had get used even more to the standard expected answer on the obligatory ‘How are you’ question.

Fine.

And when you’re a youth pastor, you can adapt it a little bit to add another expected answer.

Fine. Busy.

Fine is the most overused word ever amongst youth pastors, closely followed by busy. We say and hear these so often that they have become absolutely meaningless.

But how are you really? Are you really fine? And is ‘busy’ the best way to describe how you’re feeling? Or should you use different words if you had to tell the truth?

Overwhelmed.

Exhausted.

Discouraged.

In pain.

Isolated.

Embattled.

Worn out.

Spiritually dry.

If this is how you really feel, you’re not alone—which is a sad reality and maybe somewhat of a comfort at the same time. Many pastors and youth pastors struggle.

Recent Barna research showed what pastors struggle with, and I doubt these stats would be much different for youth pastors:

  • 25% of pastors reported significant marital problems if major parenting difficulties
  • Only 40% reports being very satisfied with their overall quality of life
  • More than 40% is struggling with depression or has struggled with this in the past
  • Only 25% say they’re very satisfied with their physical well being

These stats and figures are not new. It’s been known for years just how tough being in ministry is on your physical, emotional, and spiritual well being—and that of your family.

So how are you really? Fine and busy? Or is more going on?

If you truly are fine, then that’s great. Seriously, celebrate it.

But if you’re not, what are you going to do about it? Wait and see? How’s that working for you?

Maybe a small first step is to be honest the next time someone you know well asks you that question: How are you?

Not so well. Too busy.

(Source statistics: David Kinnaman, How Are You, Pastor, Really? Leadership Journal Fall 2015)

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