The relationship between senior pastor and youth leader can at times be a difficult and maybe even a frustrating one, but at the same time a very, very important one. Sometimes it is hard to navigate what our senior pastors or supervising leaders actually want from us as the youth leader. For this post we interviewed Pastor Eric who has been in full time ministry for 39 years, 15 years as a youth pastor and 25 years as a senior pastor. He has worked under senior pastors when he was a youth pastor and has led many, many staff members as a senior pastor. Check it out as he shares his insight on what a senior pastor wants from his or her youth leader.
Why is the Sr. Pastor/Youth leader relationship important?
The relationship between the Senior Pastor and Youth Pastor is important because their relationship serves as a model to the church for the kind of relationship people should have in the body of Christ. Jesus prayed for our unity and taught us that our love for each other would be our greatest testimony as Christ’s followers. When a church staff has unity, there is a great amount of synergy that is produced by the staff for the Kingdom of God. People will notice, things will get done and the mission and vision of the church will be accomplished.
What is the quickest way for a youth worker to get on the senior pastor’s bad side?(or irritate the senior pastor?)
Communication is the key to a good relationship between the Senior Pastor and the Youth Pastor. As a Senior Pastor, what I don’t like, more than anything else is to be surprised. This means when something goes wrong in the ministry, I want to hear about it from my staff person first. This also means the discussions we have as a staff remains there and when we leave the room I can trust my staff person to communicate accurately what we discussed. If my staff does that, they have my complete support.
What is your best advice for a youth workers when it comes to working with their senior pastor?
My best advice to a youth pastor, besides communication, is to get to know your pastor’s heart. What is he or she passionate about? What does your Senior Pastor have as a mission and vision for your church? How will your ministry reflect the mission and vision of the church? Again, when there is a shared mission among the staff, there will be much that can be done for the Kingdom of God.
What do you expect from a relationship with your youth workers?
I want my staff to know that I am successful when I am helping them know and do God’s Will in their life. I expect my staff to do the same thing for the people we lead. While I do not expect to be best friends with my staff, I do desire to have a friendship that goes beyond the church office; that there is genuine respect, trust and loyalty for each other. I also expect my staff to act with integrity.
If you have more questions for Pastor Eric or need some advice with your specific situation with your senior leader email firstname.lastname@example.org