Wednesday, July 24, 2024
Wednesday, July 24, 2024
HomeAll The NewsWhat Are You Looking For In a Youth Pastor?

What Are You Looking For In a Youth Pastor?

      This week, I am preparing to preach at my church. I love it when I have that opportunity. Our teaching pastor will be out, so this guy is on deck. In preparation for continuing our study on David, I have been looking at I Samuel 16, where David is anointed as the next king of Israel. Verse seven (ESV) says, “…For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”

      As director of the BMA of Arkansas Youth Department, I receive a lot of inquiries about who might be available in the area of student ministry. When those questions land at my desk, they will often have a description connected — 9 out of 10 times, they are looking for someone under the age of 35. The current reality is that there aren’t many out there.

      If your church is in the process of determining what is next in your student ministry, I would recommend earnestly determining what you are looking for. If you are looking to add a pastor to your staff that would handle your student ministry, I encourage you to start with what is outlined in I Timothy and Titus. However, there are some additional things to consider:

         • Age doesn’t really matter. I’m not sure when we determined that we wanted our youngest and least experienced pastors to be the ones working with perhaps the most impactful age bracket, but that is where we have landed — “If they are young, they can relate better to those teenagers;” “I don’t have the energy to work with them, but that young couple can;” “They speak in a language I don’t understand.” You may have heard or said similar things, but we must understand that working with students can be challenging. That challenge can be met by a 25-year-old with a couple of years of experience or a 51-year-old with 30 years of experience. While you may still want a younger man or couple to work with your students, don’t write off someone simply because he may have a touch of gray (or, in my case, a head full). They have experienced a great deal and can provide stability and wisdom younger student ministry workers may be unable to provide.

         • “Cool” doesn’t matter. I realized long ago that I would never be the coolest person in the room. At first, I thought it would be the end of working with students. However, I learned along the way that there are more important things than my “cool” factor. At the top of this list is the need for relationship. That is what our students really need and want.

         • The heart does matter. When the children of Israel first called out for a king, they wanted a man who looked like a king. However, God made it clear with the example of Saul and the statement of I Sam. 16:7 that God is more interested in the heart. The same can be said about your next student ministry worker. Competency can be learned more quickly than character. Focus on the heart as you seek to fill that next student ministry role.

      Finding a student ministry worker or youth pastor can be challenging, but we must focus on the things that matter before we make our next hire. Let me encourage you to examine the heart and character of whoever you have working with your students. Our students deserve it because student ministry matters.