Being a youth pastor at one church for the whole thing of my ministry profession is likely one of the best blessings of my life.
My first college students at the moment are of their late-30s. I’ve baptized them, married them, and seen them increase their very own youngsters. My very own youngsters (whom they babysat again within the day) now babysit their youngsters. Some function volunteer leaders within the ministry.
I really feel just like the Lord has answered the psalmist’s prayer in my life: “Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, my God, till I declare your power to the next generation” (Ps. 71:18). I’m just some years away from with the ability to minister to the youngsters of my former college students. I by no means would have anticipated it, however I wouldn’t need it another method.
I seem like one of many exceptions.
Not My Plan
Youth-pastor turnover stays very actual. The revolving door continues to spin on the church buildings throughout me. Folks discover out I’ve been a youth pastor at one place for this lengthy and it’s like they’ve seen a UFO. However I by no means got down to keep at one place for this lengthy. In truth, I by no means got down to be a youth pastor.
I fell in love with youth ministry by chance. I wanted a job out of seminary, and this random church up the street wanted a youth pastor. Positive, I’ll do that for a 12 months until one thing else comes alongside, I believed.
That was 21 years in the past.
I can’t take credit score for staying right here so long as I’ve. In truth, I’ve tried to go away a pair occasions, however the doorways I believed had been opening elsewhere acquired slammed shut. Nonetheless, numerous key elements have contributed to my “unintended” longevity.
Retention Secrets and techniques
4 essential elements have saved me round. In case you’re studying this as a frontrunner in your church, whether or not paid or volunteer, take these to coronary heart. In case you may help your youth minister in these areas, there’s a a lot better likelihood he’ll be round for greater than a short time. These are 4 issues my church did proper.
1. My church validated me for selecting a profession, not a stepping-stone.
My good friend Jon Coombs wrote a terrific article that impressed this one. His message: Youth ministry is greater than a stepping-stone; it’s a viable lifelong ministry. In the identical method nobody asks a high-school English trainer when he’s going to begin instructing school college students, we have to cease asking youth pastors after they’re going to go away youth ministry.
In the identical method nobody asks a high-school English trainer when he’s going to begin instructing school college students, we have to cease asking youth pastors after they’re going to go away youth ministry.
They could or could not, however it’s an precise vocation, not merely a coaching floor for turning into a “actual pastor.”
2. My church helped me combat burnout.
In my expertise, the number-one cause youth pastors don’t final lengthy is that their tempo is unsustainable. Most new hires are younger, stuffed with vitality, and, Pink Bull in hand, prepared to beat the world.
You need me to show center college on Sunday mornings, highschool on Sunday nights; lead midweek Bible research; go to college students after college at their extracurricular actions; attend employees conferences; recruit leaders; plan the middle- and high-school lock-in, the middle- and high-school retreats, the middle-school summer time camp, the high-school mission journey; and in addition be in a small group for myself? You’ve acquired it!
No marvel they solely final 18 months. Youth ministry must be seen as a marathon, not a dash—however church buildings like to rent sprinters. They give the impression of being nice in miles one and two. But operating that arduous out of the blocks, they’re by no means going to make it to mile 4, a lot much less mile 26.
Ideally, youthful youth pastors may have a Jethro-type particular person of their lives (Ex. 18:17–23)—somebody who may help them delegate, assist them be taught to say no to issues that can burn them out, and who may have their again, it doesn’t matter what. A youth pastor have to be challenged to lift up leaders who can share the burden of ministry, fairly than doing all of it himself. Burnout is actual and have to be addressed head-on.
3. My church paid me sufficient.
I do know former youth pastors who would’ve liked to remain in youth ministry, however as their household grew, they merely couldn’t afford it. A easy rule of thumb is to research how a lot a neighborhood schoolteacher is paid—and do all in your energy to match that wage as rapidly as attainable. Then do all you’ll be able to to assist your youth pastor purchase (fairly than hire) a home, which is able to assist him settle into the group.
There was a crossroads about 4 years into my ministry the place it was time to both put down roots or transfer on. A gaggle of households raised cash on the church’s behalf to assist us with a down cost on a house. We nonetheless reside in that home 17 years later. That was an unbelievable present of help for us, and the roots that went within the floor have solely deepened over time.
4. My church discovered alternatives for me to make use of my presents outdoors of youth ministry.
Some youth pastors are content material investing all their time in youth ministry. Others, particularly as they become old, start to go searching and marvel, Are there different points of church ministry the place my presents and expertise could possibly be used? This isn’t all the time an possibility, however the place it’s attainable, give your youth ministers each likelihood to train and develop their presents.
His Plans Are Higher
I want I might say I had this life deliberate for myself. Removed from it. However it’s a superb life.
Church buildings, do all the pieces in your energy to make this attainable in your youth ministers. You gained’t remorse it.