Many Youth Pastors think of themselves more like wanna be youths than pastors. It is easy to fall into the trap of trying to connect with teenagers that you become one. Many Youth Pastors need to realize that they are not youth workers, youth buddies, or youth babysitters, but youth Pastors. In Youth ministry, we need to realize that our primary task is to be a pastor to those students Christ has entrusted to us.
The mantal of pastoral ministry is not one to be taken lightly. As we read the qualifications for elders and overseers in the pastoral epistles, those same qualifications apply to those who are youth pastors. Youth pastors must be spiritually mature, grounded in the Word of God and able to teach it clearly. The fruit of the Spirit of God must be clearly evident in their life. His family must be carefully examined to see if he is a good Husband and Dad.
The sterotype of youth pastors, and one that too often proves true, is that they are spiritually immature relevant youth entertainers. The students might like hanging out with the youth pastor, but they never respect him as a spiritual authority. That’s because they see him as ‘one of them’ rather than their pastor.
Don’t get me wrong, we need to cross those cultural bridges. We need to connect to youth culture and figure out the best ways to communicate the Gospel. Never sacrifice the Gospel in the name or cultural relavance. Be first a formost a pastor to your youth group. Teach the profound truths of God’s Word. Disciple them, pray with them, counsel them. Don’t spend your entire youth ministry playing ping pong and miss the opertunities to pastor your students.
Youth Pastor, Jesus is going to hold you accountable for how you shepherd your youth group. Will he be pleased with that short time you have with those students or will he be dissapointed? Are you stewarding your time well? Your first priority is to pastor your students not to just be their buddy or entertain them. Pour your heart and soul into discipling them and watch as Jesus works powerfully in your Youth Ministry.