Shutting Down Youth Ministry

Yep, you read that right. I’m a pastor, and I’m encouraging you to shut down ministry.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not encouraging you to STAY shut down, but if you don’t shut down at some point, you’re setting yourself up for a spiritual desert. God never intended for you to keep going and going constantly! Our culture has unspoken expectations that more is necessary. reported this:

“72% of the pastors report working between 55 to 75 hours per week.  (Pre-Covid-19)”

Sound familiar? If you’re not doing that from full-time ministry, you’re likely doing it from working two jobs in part-time ministry. We’ve all heard it or said it ourselves:

“There’s no time to rest.” “There’s too much to do.” “No one else will step up, so it’s up to me.”

If this is what you’re thinking, let me ask you something: Do you really think God won’t accomplish His will if you don’t accomplish more work? If that’s you, let’s go back to the Scriptures:

“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days, you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work…” – Exodus 20:8-10 (NIV)

It’s not just commanded; our bodies by design need rest. But it doesn’t just affect our bodies, but also our mind, soul, creativity, relationships, everything… we were made to go and build and do what we do, but we were also made to rest. How long has it been since you stopped everything and simply shut down for the day? This is the perfect time to shut down as we begin a new year. Here are three tips on getting rest:

Plan and guard your day of rest.

Don’t just fill it with a bunch of tasks, be intentional. What is the most restful and relaxing thing for you? It’s different for everyone. Being out in nature is great, seeing the grandeur of God’s creation. Maybe it’s getting with the ‘Paul’ (the mentor) in your life and just talking about where you’re at spiritually. Whatever it may look like for you, planning your time of rest is crucial, and fiercely guard that time for that purpose.

Make sure you’re not in control.

It may sound odd, but you need to release some of that control if you’re too busy with all the tasks needing to be done! Find out what God is calling you to do, and try and delegate all the other tasks. After all, it may be exactly what God is calling THEM to do!

Breathe in, breathe out.

You’ll struggle hearing God’s voice if you don’t read His Word. You’ll struggle with a relationship with God if you’re never talking with Him either! Breathe in God’s Word, breathe out your prayers. Breathe in one of my favorite passages, Jesus said this:

28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” – Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV)

If you don’t shut down the ministry, you’re setting yourself up for burnout in ministry. I shared my story of burnout in ministry years ago, I was in a spiritual desert for way too long, and as a result, I said ‘never again’ to ministry (thankfully, that wasn’t the end of the story). If you’re struggling with burnout, I want to encourage you to read the blog titled “Never Again.” Praying for you in this season that you can shut down ministry and have a great new year.


Shane Thacker is the Youth Pastor at Inola Christian Church in Oklahoma. He’s served in youth ministry for over 10 years and is the author and podcaster of “The Total Ministry Makeover”, a program designed to lead leaders everywhere on the right foundation for life in the ministry. You can connect with him at: