When most look at the make-up of church's pastoral staff, they generally have an order of importance in mind (whether they verbalize it or not). Most also have an assumption about the theological understanding each position should have. Generally the order is as follows:
- Most important and has the most theological understanding
- Second in importance & theological understanding
- Last in importance & theological understanding
In this blog I don't wish to debate the truth of this order. But rather I want to make a passionate plea. A plea to churches and potential youth Pastors.
My plea is this,
- Don't settle for a youth Pastor with little to know desire to grow theologically. But help them grow and train them up.
To youth Pastors
- Don't settle for second best in your pursuit of theological understanding and your ability to communicate that truth to others.
In a very real sense, youth Pastors should be among the best theologians and communicators in your congregation.
Because youth Pastors will encounter questions and issues from youth and friends of youth during the most influential time in their young lives. Just as many questions as any Senior or Associate Pastor would encounter.
I am a youth Pastor. And its not unlikely that on any given day I am asked a list of 9 or so questions from students concerning the Bible. Often these questions are not even close in genre to each other. Let me give you an example from today:
Q1: Is missional contextualization wrong?
Q2: Whats the biblical definition of worship?
Q3: Is KJV really the only viable translation in english?
Q4: What are the key steps in developing a Christian worldview?
Q5: Is there youth group this Sunday night?
Q6: Can you explain Romans 7 to me? I don't get it and don't know if Im really saved.
And its only 1pm on a Thursday afternoon.
As youth Pastors we need to have a biblical and trustworthy answer for these young people.
We cant pass these questions off to others to answer. Youth come to us for answers, and by God's grace we need to answer them.
I think that the contagious assumption that the youth Pastor is "of less importance" over the past few generations has resulted in an increase of biblical illiteracy among our young people. Thus making them easy targets for college professors.
We need churches to invest in these young Pastors. Train these young Pastors and Encourage these young Pastors. We need members of the body to help with the less critical aspects of ministry to free Pastors to do their primary task, the teaching of the Word.
At times I feel the heat from teens with hard questions. Thus it behooves me to learn and reply with clarity, conviction and Truth. Even in the midst of activity planning and family counseling.
Youth Pastors need to be among the best theologians and communicators in your congregation. If your youth Pastor is not that, encourage them and seek out ways to help them develop as they join parents in caring for the souls of the next generation.
All too often its due to a lack of these things that young Pastors leave their place in search of another. Church culture has grown accustom to criticizing these young men rather than helping to build them up. And no servant/worker likes to be criticized in a negative fashion.
Churches, don't settle, don't neglect and don't underestimate the value of the youth Pastor at your church.
Youth Pastors, seek training, seek communication skills and seek people from your local church to help run the other aspects of ministry that would hinder you from your primary objective.
My thoughts on a Thursday afternoon. Now back to my Homework. Pray for me! lol