Blog/CYM Blog

Leadership is Lonely

Youth ministers and all those involved in ministry are called to be leaders of the faith. Leading people is an honor and Jesus viewed leadership as the highest form of serving others (Luke 22:20). This type of leadership requires courage, good decision-making skills, and a clear vision. All this comes with the understanding that what we do today greatly affects our young Church tomorrow.

Sometimes as the person in charge we can be worried about “ruffling feathers” or trying to get others to “like us” more than what God is calling and asking us to do as a leader. The reality of youth ministry is that we have a super cool job; we have the privilege to lead teens closer to Christ. We need to remember that. Because just like in any other job – we can get placed in awkward situations. We have to make incredibly tough decisions, and this can result in us becoming worried with our image rather than our goals and often taking a stand has the potential to become lonely.

We need to recognize that real leadership means being willing to be unpopular at times. There could be moments where your Core Team gets frustrated with your assessments, parents are upset over the retreat dates, teens don’t like the new youth group t-shirt and a variety of other issues. Leadership is lonely, sometimes. Does that mean we should compromise our vision? Does that mean we should change to please people? No! We are called to stand up for what is right, even when it feels like nobody else will stand up with us.

When you accept the mission to become a leader, you are choosing to embrace loneliness, confront the status quo, and challenge your teens, Core Members, and parishioners to greatness. You are accepting the challenge to hold others accountable – even if it means they might not like you that day or week.

Here are some suggestions to help you along the journey:

Share Your Vision … with Everyone!

Share your vision with teens, parents, Core Members, and parishioners – old and young. Every time you get the opportunity – share your vision, mission, goals, dreams, and what you hope to accomplish. Leaders are passionate; leaders have a great desire to make a difference. They breathe life into their visions and get others to see exciting possibilities for the future.

Challenge the Mundane

If we remain complacent there is no room to improve our ministry. We can’t do the same things because “that’s what we have always done.” We continually need to assess and search for opportunities to change the status quo.


We take responsibility for everyone’s role, including our own. If a Core Member isn’t doing their part, it’s our duty to call them out with love. If a teen isn’t walking the walk, we need to have that conversation we dread and follow up on outstanding issues. When things are going well, great! When there are problems, they need to be identified and addressed.


If you want an outstanding youth ministry program, it takes time, consistency and commitment. You as the leader need to show your commitment. There is no greater motivation than seeing the “boss” down in the trenches working alongside everyone else, showing that hard work is done on every level.

Becoming a leader is within your reach. These points grounded in a life of Eucharistic prayer are the ingredients to growing in your ministry leadership. Above all, our mission is to lead others to Christ, let us keep your eyes fixed on Jesus and others will follow.

About the Author

Kelly Colangelo

I got an award for having the neatest hand writing in second grade, my mom did my homework. I’m not a morning person; I love ketchup, blueberry cake donuts and mint chocolate chip ice cream. I want to go to heaven… and take as many people with me with as possible. Follow me on Twitter or Instagram at Kelly Colangelo.

Want to write for Life Teen? Click Here to learn more.