Archive for January 6th, 2009

Youth Ministry Essentials 2


When I was a junior in high school my Youth Pastor of five years went on to lead a church in another state as their Senior Pastor.  The new guy that came in for my final year of high school was clear with us and quick to bring to all of our attention that he was merely with us for a short time until he could get a position as Senior Pastor somewhere else.  Essentially we were the ones that he gain experience with in order to be ready for a real leadership position.

Needless to say, this didn’t sit well with me and I soon drifted away from the youth ministry that I had been very faithful and committed to.  Now, I need to go on record before I even begin to write what I am about to write by saying that when God calls you, you go.  I fully know that there may come a day when I sense the call of God for me to move on and if and when that day comes – and only then – I will go.  The thing that rubbed me the wrong way about the statement that was made by the incoming Youth Pastor was that this was not really what he wanted to do and he simply settled with our ministry until something better came along.

Passion is a value of mine.  I believe that in order to lead a successful, vibrant youth ministry you must be passionate about helping the youth that you serve connect in a deeper relationship with Jesus.  If you are more passionate about being a Pastor than you are about helping those that you are leading/serving you may be doing them a great disservice.  What we do is really less about us and more about those we serve.  I have said it before, and I will say it again.  I love what I do!  My dream is to be serving as the Generations Pastor at Grace Capital Church for the next fifty years.

Passion.  It’s what keeps you energized even on the days when you don’t feel like you are making a difference.  I will be very honest here, I have days where I really question if anything good is coming from my ministry.  It is on those days that I have to spend a bit more time in the presence of God.  It is the work of the Holy Spirit that refreshes me and refills me with the passion that I need to do what I do.

Bill Hybels, in his book Holy Discontent, talks about the “Popeye Moment”.  It’s that moment when we see things going on around us and we simply can’t not do anything. We have to act. We have to take a stand for what we know is right.  Many in youth ministry serve in their roles because of a passion they have to help teens make good, healthy decisions in their lives.  Youth ministry needs passionate leaders.  People who have to act in order to help youth connect with God.

Honestly, if you are not passionate about helping teenagers connect in a deeper relationship with Jesus then you are probably filling a position at a church that you should get out of in order to create an opening for someone who is truly called to that position.  We don’t need warm bodies filling a spot in youth ministry, we need people of passion in youth ministry.  This goes for every person serving in youth ministry.  When I recruit new leaders for our youth ministry I want to ensure that they are passionate about serving youth.  If they are just looking to fill a spot in a ministry I work to help them find their fit elsewhere.  The work that we do is far too important to have just anyone involved.  (More on this later this week.)

Are you passionate about the role that you play in youth ministry?  I don’t mean to make it sound like an obsession, but I believe good Youth Pastors are called to be Youth Pastors for the long haul.  Passion will bring longevity which will lead to an incredible impact on the lives of the youth that are in your ministry.  May you be full of passion for youth ministry!