Youth pastor or youth director is just about the best job that anyone could have! I love being a youth pastor and I love meeting other youth pastors who love their job. I talk to a lot of youth workers and I have heard so many different reasons for deciding to be in youth ministry. It is awesome to see how God uses different situations, experiences, or people to call someone to youth ministry. There are so many good reasons to be a youth worker, but throughout the years I have definitely heard some reasons that just flat out stink. Here are three terrible reasons to become a youth pastor/director
1. To relive high school
Youth Ministry is basically a second chance at being the cool guy or the popular girl and it’s pretty much teed up for you to knock out of the park. You are the one in charge so obviously you will be known by everyone and since you are older, smarter, stronger you will be better at the games and activities. It is the perfect opportunity. No, just no. This is not a reason to be a youth pastor or youth director. If your goal is to be the popular person in youth group: 1. You won’t be doing your job well because chances are you won’t be holding students accountable and knowing when to say no for fear the students won’t like you anymore, and 2. You definitely have some things you need to work out before you take on a ministering position to students.
Is youth ministry fun? Heck yes, it is!!!! And having fun in ministry is not bad. In fact, that is one of the reasons I love being a youth pastor, I love having fun. But to do youth ministry so that you can relive your high school days, or get a second chance at high school is probably not the best motive for being a youth worker.
2. To use it as a stepping stone to become a senior pastor
As a youth pastor I get a lot of frustrating questions from people who just don’t get it. One of the questions that I often get, and I have to say it is one I dislike the most, is “When will you become a real pastor?” This question is so irritating, but unfortunately it reveals how a lot of youth pastors actually think. I have met many people who, when talking about their call to ministry, say “yea, youth is just kind of a place to start out. I need to get my foot in the door and get experience before I can apply for a higher associate job or senior pastor position.” This type of thinking is just crazy.
I completely understand that God calls people to different ministries at different times in their lives, and that is fine. I also understand that some people feel called to ministry and youth just happens to be the place that needed someone the most at that time so they ended up in youth. But for people who don’t feel called to youth ministry and are just using it as a stepping stone until “God calls them to something bigger”, this is a terrible reason to be in youth ministry. Without a passion for youth, you will only end up with frustration, burnout, and more likely than not a sub par ministry. Too many youth workers just survive and don’t thrive because they are just trying to stay afloat until God calls them to something better. Youth ministry is an extremely important calling, and every student deserves to have a youth leader that understands the importance of that calling and will do whatever it takes to provide the best ministry possible for the individual, the group, and the students’ unsaved friends.
3. Because its easy
“All I am going to do is hangout with students all day and get paid for it! Yaaaahooooo! I mean, its not a ton of money but hey, I am getting paid and that means that I don’t have to get another job. And let’s be honest, its easy!” If you ever meet this guy, slap him.
Yes, the job of a youth pastor can be fun, but if the statement “I want to be a youth pastor to have fun” can be translated to “I want to be a youth pastor because its easy, all you do is play” then you are probably unclear on what the job of a youth pastor actually is. Youth ministry is one of the hardest jobs on the planet. It takes tons of time, energy, effort and heart ache. If “youth ministry is easy” was one of your reasons to become a youth pastor/director you either quickly found out that that is not the case, or you are what we like to call “the lazy youth pastor”. If you don’t plan ahead, write and prepare lessons, manage your volunteer team (or even have a volunteer team), serve other places, communicate to who you should, hold meetings, deal with parents, counsel students, and all the other things that comes with the job then I guess it would be easy. But if that were the case then you are obviously not called to actual youth ministry. Youth ministry is one of the hardest jobs out there, but it is also one of the most rewarding.
Many people get into ministry for the wrong reason. I know there are many things that point people to youth ministry but the real reason behind why someone should be in youth ministry can be boiled down to two things, a love for God and a love for students. If those are not your reasons for being in youth ministry, you may not last long. God placed an amazing calling on youth workers and answering that calling means that you have a passion for The Lord and to see His plan for students. It means caring about what He cares about in their lives. Youth ministry can be very difficult but when we love God and love students we can know that we are in it for the right reason.