What’s a Youth Pastor?

Youth Minster Job Description

Primary qualification: Ability to Breathe.

In the beginning, God had no one to tend the ground, but “then the Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and the man became a living being” (Genesis 2:7 NRSV). Breathing activates our ability to tend God’s creation. In our congregation, the youth minister must breathe while functioning as a:


*MISSIONARY. Breathe in—seek ways to understand other cultures and values (including the youth culture). Breathe out—attempt to reorient valuable cultural differences to face toward God. In this manner, strive to “make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19-20).


*TEACHER. Breathe in—seek the wisdom that already exists within the congregation; learn from those who have already participated in the ministry. Breathe out—model Christ and know that the youth are learning by observation (see Titus 2:7-8).


*PROPHET. Breathe in—spend time seeking God through private prayer and study. Breathe out—in a loving and scriptural way, you are expected to confront aberrant behaviors and encourage pious behaviors. Like Jeremiah, you will need to pluck up, pull down, destroy, overthrow, build, and plant (Jeremiah 1:10).


*PRIEST. Breathe in—pursue relationships with the elders of the community who can help you understand sacrifice and intercession. Breathe out—be prepared to proclaim Christ’s active role in the lives of the youth, who are also members of the royal priesthood of believers (see 1 Peter 2:9).


*SHEPHERD. Breathe in—recognize that you are one of our flock; be present and realize that the entire congregation seeks to shepherd you. Breathe out—protect the youth. Know them and fight on their behalf as a good shepherd (see John 10:11-18).


*ADMINISTRATOR. Breathe in—take time to learn the administrative functions already existing in the church; consider your own humility as you learn. Breathe out—cheerfully assist in keeping schedules, budgeting, and organizing. Seek to “Let all things be done decently and in order” (1 Corinthians 14:40).


*FRIEND. Breathe in—cultivate holy friendships that move you into a deeper relationship with God. Breathe out—through your own friendships with youth, encourage them to pursue Christ in a manner like Ruth (whose name can mean friendship) pursued Naomi (Ruth 1:16-17).


*RECRUITER. Breathe in—expect and welcome invitations from members of the congregation who recognize your unique abilities. Breathe out—actively recruit other believers to assist you with your ministry efforts; do not go it alone (see Jethro’s advice in Exodus 18).


*TEAMMATE. Breathe in—accept the help, advice, and wisdom of those around you. When you are overwhelmed, share your need for help and expect our concern for your welfare; we seek to lift one another up (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12). Breathe out—be aware of other ministries in the congregation; seek to help when you are needed.


*LEADER. Breathe in—allow yourself to rest in the leadership of others; be a member sometimes (instead of a leader). Breathe out—be prepared to balance the multifaceted world of youth ministry; you will need to consider every available resource for instilling a love of God in our children. Christ reiterated the two greatest commandments (Mark 12:29-33); let both drive your ministry.

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