When I am approached by someone who is feeling they may be called to be a Youth Pastor I tend to always tell them the same things. Some of these are things I have learned the hard way over the years, and others are things I was asked when I started searching for direction in this area. Addressing and answering those things are in my opinion what will enable you to not only be effective as a Youth Pastor, but make sure you stay in Youth Ministry. There is one thing though that is hands down the number one thing I tell people who want to be a Youth Pastor (or in ministry of any kind really):
I almost always tell anyone thinking of vocational ministry this. When I was a senior in High School and approached my Pastor about feeling “a call” to ministry, this was the first thing he said to me. To be honest, I had no clue what “a call to ministry” was and I phrased it more like…”I think God wants me to do what you do.” His words have saved my ministry more times than I can count. He told me (paraphrasing here), “You need to run from this. Go home and pray through this some more. When you are certain there is nothing else you can do with your life…then come back and we will talk.” I’ll never forget the feeling I felt leaving his office. I felt confused and somewhat defeated. I had no way of knowing the importance of what he was challenging me with. He was not telling me not do be obedient to God’s calling on my life. This was no real life object lesson from the book of Jonah. No giant fish were involved. He was not telling me that I was not cut out for or able to do ministry. He was telling me to be certain this is what I was to do. I did in fact take time to search and reflect on what I felt God was doing in my life. When I came back to him a few weeks later, he was my biggest fan and one of my greatest helps. I cannot tell you how many times over the last 16 years this one conversation has kept me from quitting. I am so grateful for that man and that conversation. It would have been easy for him to have been eager to throw me out there and brag about what God was doing through his ministry, but he did not. With such great wisdom and care, he patiently led me. James gives us a similar warning:
“Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.” – James 3:1
When anyone tells me they want to be a Youth Pastor I always start here. So many people come into Youth Ministry disillusioned as to the reality of what ministry really is. They know they loved their time in Student Ministry. God used that time in their life so profoundly. I am so grateful for their heart for Youth Ministry. I am so grateful that God used their time in Youth Ministry to influence their life. The calling to any vocational ministry though is difficult, and one that most are unaware of. Think you want to be a Youth Pastor? Run. Okay, well stop and really consider if it is what God is really calling you to do me be. If you fail to do this, you will fail in ministry.
What about you? What is the number one piece of advice or council you give to people who want be in ministry? Share below in the comments.
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