This is (kinda) none of my business, except that I am leaving names out of the story to protect the innocent, and to help the guilty avoid embarrassment.
A friend told me the other day that he had been advised that he would burn out of youth ministry, probably soon, and then was given the name of another person we all know who used to be in youth ministry and is no longer.
Now, it isn’t my place to say that this other individual didn’t actually burn out on youth ministry. I know this person well enough, though, to tell you that this person had never intended to stay in youth ministry long. The plan was clear: in the United Methodist Church (and perhaps others) youth ministry is perceived as
1. “starter” ministry, as though it is merely preparation (I can’t tell you how many people have asked me, over the last 20 years, when I would “start doing “real” ministry!)
2. A good way to get hired on to a bigger church, thus a higher paying gig than some seminarians can wrangle at small-town, small-church student appointments.
If you fit in either or both of these conditions, whatever happens or happened around your leaving youth ministry, you don’t get to call it burnout.