Benjamin Kerns on Youth Ministry Ambition: Is There a Student Ministry Corporate Ladder?

What is the top of the youth ministry world? When will you have arrived? Is it about the number of students in your ministry? Is it about working at a particular church? Is it when you get to travel and speak? Is it when you get to speak at main stage for Youth Specialties? Every career has a ladder, and student ministry is no different.

Let’s just take high school education as an example. The basic corporate ladder goes something like this; substitute teacher, teacher’s aid, class room teacher, head of department, assistant principle, principle. Then if you have sights higher than that particular high school, assistant superintendent, and finally superintendent.

But this isn’t the top of the ladder. From superintendent, there is an entirely different ladder to climb ending with, who knows, the governorship or even the president of the United States.

The crazy thing is that some people have absolutely no desire to be anything but an instructional aid. They know who they are and what they are gifted to do, and they fully live into it. One of my best middle school volunteer staff is this person. She is a total gift to her school and does her job with passion and grace.

On the other end of the spectrum there are people who are never satisfied with where they are and are continually looking toward the next thing, the higher rung. While ambition is actually a good thing, the dark side is that the overly ambitious person never gets to be fully satisfied. To spend your entire life climbing a ladder, being single minded in this pursuit, actually changes the way the brain works. If you spend your entire life in a state of pursuit, you won’t know what to do or how to feel once you have arrived. In order to find peace, one must continue to pursue, something, anything.

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Source: Church Leaders