5 Things Youth Pastors Need to Start

After ranting about 5 Things That Youth Pastors Need to Stop, I figured I should flip the script. So if you are a youth pastor, and your not doing the following…you need to start!

Below you will find five things that Youth Pastors Need to Start:

1. Start Engaging Parents.

Everyone who is doing research (i.e. Sticky Faith, Orange) related to youth ministry is pushing parental engagement and parent ministry. All of these studies are show that parents play the most significant role in the spiritual development of teens. Why fight upstream, trying to influence students on your own in 4 hours a week, when you could tap into the number one influence in the life of a teen?

2. Start Student Follow-up.

I know this seems like a no-brainer, but I’ve been shocked how poorly follow-up happens in youth ministry (I’m guilty)! And when I say “follow-up,” I’m not just talking about first-time visitors. Follow-up needs to happen with first-timers, students who make decisions concerning salvation or baptism, and students with serious prayer requests.

3. Start Planning Ahead.

Student Ministry has a bad reputation when it comes to both planning ahead and communicating to students and parents what’s happening in the near future. If you want the ministry you lead to be taken seriously, you need to show that you are not flying by the seat of your pants. Communicating regularly with parents about upcoming events, as well as the purpose behind these events, help build trust and rapport with parents. I plan out my teaching series for an entire year, and communicate major events quarterly. Find a schedule that works for you and stick to it!

4. Start Handing Over Ministry to Students

A temptation for Youth Pastors is to do everything themselves. You have probably experienced this! Do I let a student do the announcements or do I do them and make sure they get communicated clearly? Do I teach the lesson or do I let a student fumble though one? Do I tell students to invite friends to church so I can share the gospel or do I equip my students to go out and share the gospel?

I doubt any of you would admit to having these doubts, but don’t lie to yourself! We have ALL felt this way. But we must continually find ways to transfer ownership of the student ministry to students!

5. Start Reading.

We should all desire to be lifelong learners. The minute you think you have it all “figured out” will be the minute God throws a curveball your way. Any veteran pastor will attest that every year in ministry presents an new opportunity for growth and development. How are you actively studying and growing in your craft?

Need a place to start? Here are a few books I’ve read recently that got me thinking:

1. Middle School Ministry by Mark Oestreicher
2. Recovering Redemption by Matt Chandler
3. Center Church by Timothy Keller 

Thanks for reading! What else do Youth Pastors need to Start? Comment below!

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David Hanson: Texas native, Texas Tech Red Raider, M.Div. at Truett Seminary, husband to Ashley, father to Ava & Ben, Student Pastor at LifePoint Church in Plano, Tx, table tennis (ping-pong) extraordinaire, addicted to coffee. For anything else…you’ll just have to ask.


Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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