Disclaimer: What you are about to experience is a rant post. So if you are a youth pastor, I may, or may not, be talking directly to you.
The more time I spend in youth ministry, the more I get frustrated with the quarks of youth ministry. Below you will find five things that youth pastors need to stop.
1. Stop pushing entertainment over the gospel.
I get it. You want kids to show up, so you advertise and program around things that students would be interested in (i.e. dodgeball, all-nighters, give-aways), but what happened to the preeminence of Christ? That word “preeminent” means supreme, of utmost importance, marquee, chief, or most excellent. When you sit before the throne of God, what will matter more? How you lifted up His name or how great your all-nighters went? Which leads me to my second point…
2. Stop making it about the numbers.
I’ve heard the lines: “God cares about people, if people are numbers we’re counting, I should care about numbers.” Stop! I’ve been there. It’s hard not to associate growth and spiritual progression with numbers. But once again, is God more concerned with the breadth of your flock or the dedication and faithfulness of your flock?
3. Stop dressing like a teenager.
Time for comic relief. If you dress like your students and are double their age…something is wrong…very wrong. Be yourself. Stop trying to be “like” them and start leading them! Every youth conference I attend…the more disappointed I get in the fashion choices of youth pastors!
4. Stop leaving so quickly.
I once heard that the average stay for a youth pastor was 18 months. If that is actually true…shame on us! Very little is accomplished in 18 months. I am going on 3.5 years in my position and feel like I am just scratching the surface of what God wants to do through me in this community. Stick around.
5. Stop neglecting your family.
While investing your time and energy into a community is important, don’t sacrifice your family on the alter of “ministerial success.” It will not benefit you in the long run. Here is the reality: Every other ministry of the church has the summer “off”…except youth ministry. So when is your down season? When do you pull back the throttle to refresh, rejuvenate, refill the tank, and focus on the family you have seldomly seen throughout the summer? My suggestion: scale back in December.
What else do youth pastors need to stop doing? Comment below!