Countdown to a Youth Pastor's Most Important Relationship in the Church

If you were to ask me to shout out the first word that comes to mind when thinking about youth ministry, I believe I would shout “Relationships”.  The whole purpose of youth ministry is to help the young people develop and strengthen their relationship with God.  A large majority of youth counseling sessions are scheduled because of a relationship issue.  Youth often report that one of the main reasons they look forward to youth services is because they get to see their friends.  That being the case, it is very important for the youth pastor to have a healthy view of his or her most important relationships in the church, and to have them in their proper order.

At the bottom of my list at number 4 is the minister’s relationship with the youth.  Most teens are desperate for a positive role model, being completely inundated by worldly projections of a so-called real man or woman.  They need to hear the word preached, but they also need opportunities to see the preacher living the message.  However, youth ministries that are built primarily upon relationships between the youth and the youth pastor have significant problems over time.  The growth of the ministry is limited by the number of youth the minister can personally disciple.  And when the youth pastor leaves, the youth ministry often has to start from scratch. So, while a youth pastor’s relationship with the youth is important, it should not be treated as the most important. 

Next on the list at number three is the minister’s relationship with the parents.  This relationship is even more important than his/her relationship with the youth because no adult can have an appropriate relationship with a child without the parents’ approval.  In most cases, parents are also responsible for transporting youth to your programs.

The youth pastor’s second most important relationship in the church is with his/her adult volunteers.  Great leaders always duplicate themselves.  If the minister successfully disciples his/her volunteers, they will enlarge the youth ministry’s capacity to reach more youth.  When the volunteers carry the youth pastor’s heart, they can do the work of the ministry alongside the youth pastor.  This gives them a sense of ownership which will make them less likely to quit and more likely to recruit more help.

Finally, the youth pastor’s number one most important relationship is with the senior pastor.  The youth pastor’s position exists to help the senior pastor do what God has instructed him to do concerning the youth in the church.  This being the case, it is vital that the youth pastor carries the senior pastor’s heart for youth ministry.  When the youth pastor is in step with the pastor’s vision, goals, and overall philosophy for the church, the same anointing that produces fruit in the main sanctuary will operate in the youth ministry.

This article is written by Minister David John

Youth Minister at Word of Faith in Southfield, Michigan