Straight Talk for New Youth Pastors 2

eric ebbLast week, I ran across this post from my friend and colleague, Eric.  Eric’s a youth pastor in Colorado – and he packs a wallop of wisdom in this short little post for up and coming youth pastors.  Take a look – get to know Eric – and examine your heart.  (I have posted this with Eric’s permission.)

Can I express a frustration I’m feeling right now without sounding like a jerk? Which may potentially be unavoidable. But I’ve just had a series of conversations with present and former youth pastors that have left me upset and disappointed in our collective cohort.

It is my understanding that there are some ministry students in this group. These next 3 things are points that I’ve learned in 13 years of youth ministry and wish I would have known as a student as well.

1.  If we are not passionate about seeing teens become champions for Christ and excel through graduation instead of simply using youth ministry as a cop-out from joining the workforce or a stepping stone to being a senior pastor or other church staff position it’s time to back out now. Something may well come along later that YM prepared you for, but the intention of coasting through YM for the purpose of building your resume is shallow and selfish.

2.  If youth ministry isn’t something you would do as a volunteer with no pay outside of the reward of seeing students “get it” the job won’t be easier if we’re doing it for a paycheck.

3.  If you’re struggling with personal life and faith issues and/or secret sins working those problems out on your teen followers is not “doing life together,” it is clouding their understanding of the gospel. Fix it BEFORE entering ministry, these things don’t magically go away after you go full-time. That’s it for now. 

Author: Darren Sutton

I've been in student ministry nearly 30 years…which generally just confirms how much I still don't know. Some days I'm the pizza-eating, over-responding, teaching-on-the-fly, desperate-for-volunteers, frustrated-with-co-workers youth leader that we all are. And sometimes…I knock it out of the park. I'm everywhere on social media that you are!

3 thoughts on “Straight Talk for New Youth Pastors 2”

  1. I love the heart behind this post. I especially agree with #1. Good stuff! I think we have to be careful with #3 here, though. We’re always going to have sin in our life – it’s impossible to fix all of our sin before entering ministry. I know you’re really saying something like “Get your faith solid and stop looking at porn” before you enter ministry, but Asking people to “fix” sin before entering ministry can be a bit confusing. Just my $.02.

    1. True…and let’s face it. Do we ever truly ‘fix’ sin in our lives? :) I think Eric’s main point was if we have obvious, admitted sin in our lives, don’t walk into ministry without addressing those issues.

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