Beating Discouragement

We often feel inadequate for the task of youth ministry

and sometimes wonder if we should give up. I have been there but I have learned 3 massively motivating lessons that I have returned to when I start to wonder why I am doing this. These three quick life-giving lessons have helped me to find strength, vision, and passion to go the distance. The first of these is…

Everything Rises and Falls on Leadership
All the leadership gurus, Bennis, Covey, Maxwell, Drucker and others say it’s all about the leader. (No pressure!) But this isn’t just a business mantra. When God wants to get something done, he begins with an individual; a Noah, an Abraham, a Moses, a Deborah, or an Esther. You really matter to God and in fact, you were made for “such a time as this!”(Esther 4:14) This isn’t an ego trip! It is real. You are doing the ministry that you are doing because you are the right person for the position.

You are the Only Jesus that some teens will Ever See
You sin. So do I. But thank God, Jesus has dealt with our sin and moved into our hearts. Kids may put up a front but you represent Jesus in their Youtube world. Weak and flawed as we are, we care, often when no one else does. In October, I received a face book message that said, “Ron it was what you taught me at our youth group that is keeping me alive right now. All I want is to get right with God again.” Believe me, you matter to kids more than you realize.

There is No Victory without a Battle
Every time that working with teens seemed more work than it was worth and I started to think that the teens were better off without me… I would go to a file on my computer where I saved emails from students who had become a Christian or saw God work in their life because of something our youth ministry did. They remind me that despite the exhaustion, God was using me. It seems cliché, but whatever you do, don’t give up because if you press on eventually you are going to see results. Gal. 6:9

Discouragement can easily set in for those who work with youth. You can rise above it when you focus on how much you matter to God, how much you look like Jesus to teens, and how you are impacting youth. Please don’t give up!

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Ron Powell


Ron Powell is the Adviser to the Director of the Youth Ministry Institute at Vanguard College. He has been involved in youth ministry for over 30 years. He continues to volunteer, write, teach, and speak to parents, leaders and teens. If you would like to contact him you can email