Want to keep your youth pastor forever? Awesome! Here are three sure-fire ways to make sure they never leave your church:
Believe, promote and defend them
Your youth pastor is probably wondering right now if you believe in them. Be a cheerleader! I work in one of the best churches in the world with an incredible supervisior, elders and senior pastor and I still wonder about it all of the time. Tell them you believe in them! Promote them from the stage, behind the scenes and in your prayer life. Ask God to bless them and expand their ministry in your church. When the youth worker wins – so does the senior pastor. Not being threatened by your student ministries pastor is a HUGE boost to your long-term relationship. Defend them to parents. Have great communication so that when tension/problems come up (and they will because youth workers do risky and/or stupid stuff) be quick to forgive and forget and lead your people to do the same.
Let them lead
If you want your youth pastor to stay forever – let them lead the youth ministry. Better yet, give them space to try out some of their crazy ideas that are working with students to grow the whole ministry. Let them share their heart with the congregtion, give them room to succeed and room to fail. youth workers are attracted to risk. Senior pastors typically worry about failure. When a youth pastor peaks in their area of influence they’ll look around and see where they can expand before they look elsewhere. Giving your youth worker a steadily-increasing amount of leadership responsibilities will keep them challenged for a long time.
Pay them well
One of the biggest barries to career youth ministers and longevity in your ministry is value. Show your youth pastor who much he/she is valued by paying them well. When you put a salary cap in place you’ll miss out on the best players. When there’s a huge gap between youth pastors and “real” pastors it encourages them to look somewhere will they will be valued. Send them to conferences. Give them a modest expense account (Taco Bell is cheap). I promise if you pay them well you’ll keep them a long time.
Agree? Disagree? What would you add? Leave it in the comments and help senior pastors know how you work.