10 Qualities of a Professional Youth Pastor (6-10)
This is the second of two posts on being a professional youth pastor. I’ve engaged in this to help understanding of what a Good Youth Pastor is verses being the stereotypical youth pastor that gives us bad names. These are not in any particular order, but the result of a brain storm with several friends in ministry who all came up with very similar answers. For another youth pastor’s take on this check out Gman’s post.
This should be a given. Honesty is a must. Even if you flubbed something big time. Don’t make it worse by lying about it. If you deserve to get canned, you do… However if you own your mistake and make efforts to make it better it might help you grow stronger in ministry. Let your yes be yes and your no be no. Have integrity in all you do. The key for me is, if you are looking to get out of something for inconvenience sake, you probably are having an ethical issue. If something better comes along, suck it up. Sometimes you can work around things, but most of the time it weakens your stance in ministry.
Sets Appropriate Boundaries
Are you able to keep yourself from stumbling around in the emotional messes of teens, in the flings and hearts of your female students? Do you know where and when to meet students and where and when not to meet them? Do you know where and when to meet parents and not? Do you and your staff have rules set up so you all know what is good and bad. While not being Pharisaical about your rules, you need to realize that most people get caught in sin by dabbling in it, rather than jumping full bore in.
Additionally, do you know what you do and don’t do in and for your ministry. Can you give other people projects and tasks to do? Being able to say no helps you keep healthy. Helping others own ministry that they create minimizes the micromanagement that you will do for your ministry.
Loves on Students
You don’t always have to want to be around them. But when you are, does it energize you and enable you to pour into their lives with reckless abandon. Can you take the hours you have with them and pack them with sincerity, active listening and the Gospel? Love on your students, don’t view them as a job or a task or a chore.
Keeps Cool in Crisis
Stuff happens in ministry. Stuff happens in life. When crisis’ occur you need to have your head on your shoulder. You need to be in charge, and actually more authoritarian than you would normally be otherwise. Do you have a crisis plan? do you have people you will put in charge of different groups of kids in case something happens? Do you have more than one list with your teens names so you can do a NAME COUNT (rather than counting heads). I’ve heard of way too many news stories lately of youth pastors or caregivers losing their own lives because they jump to a hasty conclusion of what needs to be done and perish in a crisis where all could have avoided or walked away from.
Is Mentored and Mentors
Being a professional requires being mentored. Plugging into a network or a single mentor who can challenge you spiritually, advise you ministerially and advance your understanding of ministry is the key to being a youth pastor for more than 2-3 years (the time it takes to burn your bag of tricks). A professional youth pastor also mentors others. Building into another in ministry helps you stay sharp, it builds the kingdom mindset and keeps you from being the lone ranger youth minister.
BONUS: Sets Appropriate Priorities.
Josh Griffin wrote a good post about priorities here. I don’t want to elaborate on those points, however I will add that making priorities also deals with your vision, keeping your vision in front of your team and evaluating everything you do against your vision. You can easily get caught in the busywork of life. However, looking at your day/week and making sure you keep your vision in mind will help you set priorities in your schedule and keep on task. Otherwise you will end up chasing squirrels.