8/19/2009

Savvy Servants -- what I wish senior pastors and youth pastors knew

I serve as both the senior pastor and youth minister of a small church. Here's an article I wrote for Interlinc's latest music magazine (YLO 77) on what I wish both senior pastors and youth pastors knew. While Interlinc is testing digital delivery of the magazine this month, you can read the article here. And you can also read it (without the fun brain artwork) just below.

Savvy Servants:
A senior pastor and youth pastor shares from inside both minds

Things I wish every youth pastor knew
Things I wish every senior pastor knew

Senior pastor
  • If you treat youth pastors as subordinates, they won’t recognize you as a partner in ministry.
  • Recognize the disparity between your income and the income of your youth pastor. Be an advocate for a livable wage for them.
  • Please don’t micromanage the youth pastor. Instead, ask them questions that let them share their story or give them the opportunity to share their opinions i.e.: "What do you think brings students faith to life?" and "How do you think the students would respond to me coming in for an "ask the senior pastor" night at youth group?"
  • Youth trips are not vacation.
  • The youth of the church are not the church of tomorrow – they are the church of today. So are the children, young adults, parents, empty nesters, seniors . . . everyone!
  • Your presence is important in the lives of the youth. It’s important in the lives of everyone at the church you serve.

Youth Pastor

  • If you treat your senior pastor as an out of touch boss, they won’t recognize you as a partner in ministry.
  • Yes – the senior pastor makes a whole lot more salary than you do. They know it too. They have spent many years in this career.
  • Try to involve the senior pastor in the faith journey of the students you serve. You might even want to invite them to an "ask the senior pastor" night at youth group!
  • Vacation isn’t an event where you supervise youth.
  • The youth of the church are not the church of tomorrow – they are the church of today. So are the children, young adults, parents, empty nesters, seniors . . . everyone!
  • Your presence is important in the lives of the youth. It’s important in the lives of everyone at the church you serve.

I’d love to hear some of your thoughts, as well. Send them to kirk@kirkogitation.com

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

What is your definition of 'vacation,' then? I think a vacation is taking a break from one thing to do something else. So are you saying that a mission trip isn't supposed to be a relaxing time for the kids or pastor, or that the pastor shouldn't slack on religious duties for the kids during this time?

Kirk said...

Really? Vacation is getting away from the responsibilities of one's job. Pastors and youth pastors can't do that when they are supervising. Mission trips are great -- and they should never be counted as vacation for a pastor.

Anonymous said...

So mission trips aren't vacation for the pastors. Are they vacations for the youth? I think they are, in some respects.

What are the main objectives (in your mind) of a mission trip, then?

Kirk said...

At issue here isn't whether folks can decide to take vacation time to go on a mission trip. The issue is that churches should not consider time a pastor spends on a church mission trip to be vacation.
Mission trips offer an opportunity to show love for God and neighbor in action. It helps those who are being helped and it helps those who are helping. It changes the lives of all involved.