As a professional writer, I have various tools that I use to inspire me to come up with things to write. I don’t always have ideas that come to me magically, as anyone who does write can attest. An editorial calendar does not care about writer’s block. So when I wanted to write about youth pastors, I decided to find out where they go to stay current in their subject matter; shepherding teens in their walk with Jesus. If you pick any industry you can think of, there is a massive pool of websites one can go to keep apprised. It never occurred to me when I put my search in that there wouldn’t be much in the way of industry news for youth pastors.
I did find some podcasts, but my adventures through websites and blogs designed to aid youth pastors in their vocation were lackluster. How can this be?
Youth Pastors Have The Most Important Job In The Church
What job does the church have right now? It is fulfilling the Great Commission. That means we are to go and share the good news about Jesus to the lost. That is the job of every believer in God’s Kingdom. Who will bring this news to the next generation? It is the youth of today. That is correct. That kid who is squirming in the pew a few people down from you, the ones who are on their phones more than they are looking people in the eye, that kid. This is the future of the Church, ladies, and gentlemen. How do you feel about that?
The ones who are charged with encouraging kids in churches to take hold of their faith and seize it with all the fervency of one drowning would take hold of a life preserver are the youth pastors. How are we thanking them for doing such a tough job? The youth of today are under much more pressure to abandon their faith than any of the previous ones. They need to hear about how God’s Word applies to today’s issues and how it is still relevant and needed to navigate life. Many of these youth pastors are holding down full-time jobs, parenting children, and dealing with marriage issues, just like the rest of us. They get the bonus of helping teens weigh Christianity against what they see in the world.
What Happens When You Do Not Treat Youth Pastors Well
They are tired, but they do it because the mission is much more important than anything else. But everyone has limits. Sometimes, no matter how critical your job is, wanting to do something where you feel more appreciated wins out. How we treat our youth pastors and the respect we give to their role says a whole lot about the leadership and a lot less about them as a whole.
Youth Group isn’t about entertaining teens with a Christian message, so their parents feel better about what they are doing one night a week. It’s about mentoring a group of people who are scared about where the world is headed and are desperate to know there is a way to navigate it and make it out alive. What is that worth to you, Church?
When we do not appreciate our youth pastors, when we do not compensate them as well as other pastoral positions in the church, we lose them. Ask yourself what kind of shape your church would be in today if your lead pastor position was open every 2 or 3 years? I have seen job turnover numbers for youth pastors from anywhere from 18 months to 2 years at most. How can you properly disciple kids if they have to keep building trust with a new pastor almost every year?
If you had your senior pastor leave every two years, you’d ask yourself what is wrong with the church? When the youth pastor leaves he hardly gets more than a happy send-off mention at his last Sunday service.
Youth pastors who are paid well and are mentored by strong leadership will stay. Remember, people don’t leave jobs, they leave managers. Is your senior pastor pouring into your youth pastor?
The Church Must Pour Into The Youth Now
It’s time for us, the church, to focus on the youth as the next generation of pastors, evangelists, and believers. What we do for the youth today (or not) will be judged by our Heavenly Father. Are we confident Gen Z can see this through? Let’s help them get there by ensuring our Youth Pastors feel equipped to raise up this generation.