Youth Ministry is NOT a stepping stone to get you to the “big show.”
Back in the medieval days of youth ministry, it was common practice for aspiring pastors to “do time” working with the students of the church as they waited for the call to move into an adult sized pulpit. You can sit with just about any current pastor and listen to the stories of, “When I was a youth pastor…”
I understand that this was the way it was. Youth ministry wasn’t what it is now. And serving as the youth worker was what churches did to help train and prepare young rising pastors. But with as far as we’ve come at establishing youth ministry as a career calling, why are pastors still filling so many youth pastor positions.
I knew my call as a teenager. Student ministry was what God was calling me to. As I looked at colleges, I looked specifically for schools who offered a degree in youth ministry. At the time, there weren’t very many. But now, most Christian colleges are offering a degree or at least a minor in Biblical studies and teaching. More and more churches are looking for prospective candidates with a degree or training in youth ministry. And yet, many churches are still hiring the would be adult pastors. Why?
Is it the seminary training? Is it something in our church culture that still causes us to think that youth ministry is an entry level position? And why are pastors who want to serve the adult church taking jobs away from potential career youth workers?
Is it okay that churches are hiring “stepping-stone pastors?”
What do you think? Are there any dangers in churches hiring pastors to be youth workers realizing they will only be around for a couple of years at best?
What value is there in churches hiring career minded youth workers who are looking to build lasting, healthy student ministries?
As a career youth worker, I’m really struggling with this and would love to hear your thoughts and stories.
Please comment below or email me and I’ll share your story. Thanks.