Thursday, July 16, 2009

Don't Be "that" Youth Pastor

So I'm at camp this week and I love going to camp and removing students from their daily routine where they are in an atmosphere that is just saturated by the word of God. Some thoughts from my perspective at camp for youth pastors:

1. Attend the Youth Minister's meeting so you know what is going on. Lights out has been stressed at the meeting but apparently the youth pastor on the floor above me doesn't see this on the schedule and doesn't attend the youth ministers meeting each day.  The meeting is also a great place to build relationships with other youth leaders.

2.  Give your students some freedom without going overboard.  Camp is a great time to help students learn personal responsibility.  I don't gather my students around me like a mother hen.  I do let them know what is expected, when to be where, and then if they choose to ignore the expectations and make the choice to do "their own thing" I also teach them about consequences.  They may get this at home so it's good for them to see that it's not just their parents.  They may not get this at home and a week at camp is a great place to expose them to personal responsibility.

3.  Don't be "that" youth pastor.  You are their shepherd not their "bud".  This means we have to realize that while we want to be a friend to them we also have to be an authority in their lives.  
Example:
The guys on the floor above ours have been really noisy after lights out.  I expect this on the first night with everyone excited to be at camp.  By 1:30AM I had enough.  I went upstairs to ask them to quit walking around, jumping and moving furniture and who should turn the corner in their dorm room but their youth pastor.  He is young and I think attempting to be their "bud" so he did what a bud would do and covered for them blaming the floor above.  I knew it wasn't the floor above them but I paid them a visit also.  Love them, guide them, help them and then when they graduate high school you will have a close friend.

My prediction is that this youth pastor's immaturity is going to be what moves him on from his church in 18 to 24 months.  Yes our job is fun but at the same time we are shepherds and herding sheep isn't always fun.

4.  Take time each day and pray.  Each day pray for your students by name that God will move in their lives while at camp and that they will respond obediently to Him and that their commitments made at camp would be lasting ones.  If your group is big recruit some prayer warriors back home to pray for them or divide the students up among your adult leaders.

5.  Ask your students how their camp experience is going.  You can learn what God is doing in their lives and also learn if the camp is really the one you need to be bringing your students to.  Our students love Student Life.

1 comment:

ladybug said...

I aqm glad that you are not "that" youth pastor - see you tomorrow

When You Realize You Need a Reset

This morning in my morning quiet time I wrote the following:

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