5 Things Youth Pastors Need to Stop

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!

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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.


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7 thoughts on “5 Things Youth Pastors Need to Stop

  1. We need to stop complicating student ministry. Create relationships with students, parents, and leaders. Make them feel known, loved, and welcomed, and as you eluded to above all, lead them to Christ! It’s not rocket science. Great blog.

    • Thanks Craig!

      I agree. Sometimes we overcomplicate things. Thank you for being faithful in pouring into the next generation!

  2. Great article. I have been saying these exact things that Youth Pastor’s need to stop. I wish more of my Youth Pastor friends would get in line with your blog. You hit a homerun with this.

    I do wish I could scale back in December, but with 3 different school districts represented in my youth group we have to do our Winter Retreat the week after Christmas. I try my best to take a week in late August right after the students go back to school & then again in January, again right after the students go back to school from Christmas break.

    • Good thinking Heath.
      Most other ministries get to take the summer “off,” but youth pastors move from a busy spring to an even busier Summer, and then be ready to launch again in the Fall! Proud of you for squeezing in Sabbatical weeks where you can!