Friday, November 19, 2010

Prepared for What you Expect? Part 3

The church wants to have a youth involved in their church. They want to see students pouring in the doors. They once had a "part time" youth pastor who saw the group grow to around twenty something students. The church staff committee didn't like the way the youth pastor did his job and that he was only putting in 20 hours a week so they fired him. Now the youth group has shrunk to 6 students and one has to be there because he is the pastor's son. If he had a choice he would go elsewhere and if his dad wouldn't catch heat from the church he would let his son go elsewhere.

Currently the only thing they have to offer is youth Sunday School at 8:45 in the morning. The Sunday School teacher shows up reads from a quarterly without any obvious preparation and then after the class is over the teacher leaves and doesn't attend the worship service (the teacher doesn't like the preacher). Two of the youth attend the Sunday School class, one is there because he has to be. The church keeps telling the students they are going to hire a youth pastor yet have budgeted no funds for a youth pastor or for youth ministry.

Problems? You bet!
  • You shouldn't pay "part time" and demand full time work
  • You shouldn't fire a youth pastor who is reaching students
  • The students feel betrayed by their own church
  • The pastor sees the reality but is trapped because he too doesn't want to lose his job
  • Don't scratch your head trying to figure out why students won't get out of bed early on a Sunday morning for a boring unprepared lesson
  • Sunday School teacher = a church leader who has problems with the pastor and doesn't support her church
  • A youth pastor isn't the magic cure for this church's youth ministry
Is there a fix? Can the church prepare for what they expect? Absolutely!
  • Be realistic when hiring a youth pastor
  • Don't expect full time work at part time pay
  • Involve the students in the youth pastor search process (that might help towards healing the feeling of betrayal)
  • Let the pastor lead in the hiring process and supervision of the youth pastor
  • Make sure the pastor has realistic expectations
  • Let the SS teacher, who is not really interested in being there, off the hook and don't worry about not having a SS class until you find a replacement. Perhaps let the 2 students attending serve in a children's class during the process
  • Help the church to see that bringing in a youth pastor does not equal immediate results (it takes about 5 year or longer to begin to see results)
  • Budget. If you are going to hire a youth pastor then budget for a youth pastor and budget enough that he can live on the income. Keep in mind the cost of living in the area
  • Budget. If you are expecting to have a youth ministry then expect it to cost money. Somewhere between $700 to $1500 per student per year. So if you expect 50 students plan to budget around $35,000 or more
  • Remember that a youth pastor is not a cruise ship activity director. There is no sense in filling a calendar full of activities that have no purpose behind them
  • If the church isn't financially able to hire a youth pastor then pray together that God will raise up someone in the church with a passion to see students radically changed by the gospel who can volunteer to lead
Finally (personal pet peev) make sure to clarify that youth ministry is not the same as children's ministry. I met with a pastor and a volunteer once who were wanting to get something going for their youth and she kept referring to them as the "chillren". I told her that teens don't want the same label as 3rd graders.

New Site is up and Running

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