An informal survey of a diverse group of youth pastors backs a common sentiment in youth ministry: Youth pastors receive little support from church leaders and parents, but they are hungry for it.
Online PR News – 22-July-2009 – – The results of a recent youth ministry survey are not surprising. Consistent with what many youth ministry champions have been telling us for years, a majority of youth pastors begged for support from the rest of the church.
As part of Called to Youth Ministry’s continuing effort to understand the changing contemporary needs of youth ministry, a survey was conducted with a diverse group of youth pastors across the country to identify their top needs in youth ministry.
Some youth pastors could ask for little more than a helping hand or an encouraging word once in a while. Others cried out for a more supportive church environment where the students and the youth ministry were acknowledged as an important part of the churches’ purpose and future.
Nathaniel Dame, founder and president of Called to Youth Ministry, encourages churches to take a closer look at their approach to youth ministry. “If student ministry is not a priority for your church, then you will miss those critical teen years that are so vital in the spiritual development of our children. If you have a youth pastor but still don’t prioritize students, you’re probably causing him or her a great deal of stress, too.”
Author and youth ministry consultant Mark Riddle agrees. “To create a vibrant, growing student ministry, the entire church must be engaged and take the lead long before they have a staff person.”
Tim Schmoyer, a youth ministry guru, suggests that there might be deeper systemic issues at work, too. “What if the root issue is that churches don’t see something worth encouraging in their youth ministry? What if youth pastors are particularly sensitive to criticism because of their own insecurities?”
In the survey, youth pastors also expressed a strong desire for more time to accomplish their priorities and fewer expectations so that they can actually spend time with their own families. They are hungry for mentorship and resources, and they often feel that they have very little training to do what they love. They also asked for the finances to fund their ministry and support their family.
Whatever the cause may be, it is clear that many youth pastors feel alone and underappreciated. Fortunately, everybody can be a part of the solution by sharing a kind word of thanks with their own youth pastor.
Called to Youth Ministry coaches youth pastors in effective youth ministry. By providing the coaching, community, and training youth pastors need, Called to Youth Ministry partners with youth pastors and churches to help them effectively disciple and mentor their teens in a life-long pursuit of Christ. Learn more at www.calledtoyouthministry.com.