(This post was written during our transition out of Youth at the end of 2017).
We recently began transitioning out of leading the Youth Ministry at our church. When we made the decision to step back we had been leading it for almost 3 years and during that time had invested a huge part of ourselves into that ministry (as I’m sure you can imagine!). Youth was non-existent when we started out. We built it from the ground up. It was our baby.
“The way you end one season has so much to do with how you will experience the next.” – Steven Furtick
I read this quote by Steven Furtick right as we made the decision to step down from leading youth. It put transition into perspective right from the start. We wanted to finish well. To leave a good, healthy platform for someone else to launch off.
And part of that is dealing with the feelings that come with transition.
Transition doesn’t happen overnight.
Physically, and spiritually, transition might actually happen overnight. But emotionally, it might not. You might be dealing with feelings around transition for weeks (or even months) before and/or after the transition happens.
The feelings are ok.
Guys, I think I experienced all the feelings. I was disappointed we couldn’t continue. Proud of what we’d achieved. Worried that all the work we’d put in would go to waste. Frustrated at times with how the transition was going. Sad (read, super emotional) that our season leading Youth was coming to an end. Excited for our next season. And mostly grateful that we’d even got to do it.
All these feelings (and probably a few more) are totally normal during periods of change. Transitioning out of ministry might not be the only thing you have going on (we also had a newborn- huge change!) so give yourself some grace and know that it’s ok to have feelings. (And sometimes you do know it’s ok to have the feelings but you just need someone to give you permission to have them.)
But Bitterness is not ok.
It’s really important during transition out of ministry not to get bitter. You need to leave well and leave your ministry in a healthy place for the next person. After all, it’s not really your ministry, is it? It belongs to God and he entrusted you with it for a season.
There were times during our transition that we could have easily allowed bitterness to creep in. For example, there were a couple of meetings about the future of youth held without us knowing (which is fine) but that was a prime opportunity for us to feel like we were being kicked out prematurely or not being respected as leaders (which we still were at that point). We actually had to be intentional about taking captive those negative thoughts that could potentially consume us. We had to be intentional about championing the next wave of leaders, and not getting bitter that our time was up.
Note: we knew that those meetings weren’t intended to slight us. If you’re not sure about something in your situation it’s ok to clarify what’s going on. We’ve done that before too 🙂
“The way you end one season has so much to do with how you will experience the next”. Keep it in perspective, guys. Finish well. The feelings happen, they are ok. But don’t allow bitterness to creep in with those feelings.
- What’s your experience with dealing with feelings during a season of transition?