What Is a Youth Pastor to Do?
In my ministry, there is a student that Kelly and I have poured ourselves into over the last 16 or so months. She has come along way, too. We meet with her regularly for 2-on-1 mentoring, we have her over frequently simply to hang out with us, and we have effectively become a second family to her. She has even decided to follow God’s call on her life into either nursing or Youth Ministry, and as a result she is serving in an internship with me for credit as a High School Senior. All of this is good stuff. But here is where it gets sticky.
Every few weeks she slips into a “fight and flight” mentality, partly because she is afraid to get so close to other people. Her first (only) instinct is to lash out at the people who care about her. And every time it happens we come back together, all is forgiven, and we begin anew. This time, she is upset at Kelly for not leaving her a MySpace post to wish her a happy birthday on Wednesday. It is true, Kelly did not forget this student’s birthday, but she was not as intentional as she could have been. And she attempted to apologize to this student. The student then proceeded to throw it back in her face. We have worked with her on the concept of grace, and have forgiven a LOT of crap (a lot. Truly horrible things). Yet she still does not extend any grace to us.
So here is my dilemma. I cannot work with her as an intern (there is a possibility to extend her internship into the summer) if she is going to disrespect me (her site supervisor) every few weeks. Today she decided to throw all of the 30 Hour planning back at me and storm out, ignoring my requests to come back and talk. I have had to remove her from some of her other responsibilities tonight as a result. She was supposed to give a talk at our weekly outreach event, and I could not in good conscience allow her to stand in front of students and make a hypocrite out of herself (her talk was on looking past the garbage that sometimes defines us in life).
This morning I attempted to bring some concerns to her concerning her attitude when dealing with students, specifically with 30 Hour Famine students. She has a tendency to come across as very rude, short, impatient and condescending when interacting with them, and thus far has attempted to run the event as a dictator. She has routinely ignored advice from both myself and Kelly, and is on the verge of driving herself and the event into the ground. I addressed these concerns and informed her that some of the other adults on the leadership team have brought these concerns to me as well. She interpreted that as people were talking behind her back about her and expecting her to fail, and has decided to just give up.
I know I wear many different hats with her, and that is a part of the problem. So what is a Youth Pastor to do here?