I read a great article today about youth pastors and how important it is for congregations to support them and their efforts to bless and teach our children. As the parent of a teen and two preteens – I am in 100% agreement! I’ve added a few things below from my own perspective.
1. You don’t have to have a youth in the group to offer to feed them, be a chaperone or just bless them. They will appreciate the banana puddings, brownies, oreos and whatever else you put on the table. Do you remember how little money you had when your kids were young and teenagers? Times are still the same for parents of teens right now. And the youth pastor? Probably doesn’t have a lot of extra change sitting around, either. Offer to host supper. They’ll scarf it down and lick the plates clean, so no washing required on your part.
2. Most youth ministers have a “servant’s heart” – or they wouldn’t be youth ministers. But they are not hired to be the rest of the church’s personal “handy-man” or “man-on-call”. They are servants of God… and so are we. We need to act like it.
3. Pay them a fair wage. And remember – they have more than a 9-5 job. They are here, there and everywhere. Football games, school plays, musicals, homes… wherever the youth are, you’ll find them there. If you can afford it, give your youth minister a bonus twice a year for gas mileage and for just being awesome. It would help more than you know.
4. Don’t take advantage of them. It’s easy to do because they have such servant hearts – but don’t do it. Don’t ask and don’t expect them to volunteer for every position that still needs a warm body. Matter of fact, keep them from being on too many committees or other jobs. You hired them to be a youth minister, give them enough time to do the one you pay them for.
5. Be patient. Be kind. Don’t be a bully. Don’t gossip about them. Don’t expect more from them than you are willing to give. Don’t expect them to be you and do all that you do at church… they are not you. They have a job to do. Don’t push them to do yours.
6. Remember… youth ministers have families. If we expect them to be at church 24/7, we need to remember that they have a ministry at home! (This applies EVEN if your youth minister isn’t married. They have a life outside of our church walls, too.)
7. Offer them time to be ministered to. Pay for spiritual retreats (without youth) to nurture their souls. They need to be refreshed just like the rest of us.
AND (added with permission from my friend, Laura Louise Renegar):
8. I will add on to this: Remember that you are more than the employer of the youth ministers. You are their church family–the only church family they have. Love them and take care of them that way.
In other words… don’t be a meaner. We should love our youth ministers. We should love our Pastors. We should love each other.
That is all… carry on.
(p.s. the article below is good if you have a chance to read it. Thanks for the original share, Keith Bradley!)