Hey Simply Insiders, we have a sweet guest post today from our friends Jake and Melissa Kircher. Read up!
Whatever you call it: volunteering, serving, a two-for-one, ministering, or just plain old helping out…the spouse of a youth pastor is often expected to jump into the ministry world with both feet. Sometimes this works well for a couple, and their marriage thrives in this type of environment. But there are also plenty of spouses who feel forced into youth ministry roles that don’t mesh with their personalities, talents, and/or spiritual gifts.
So does the spouse of a youth pastor have to serve in the youth group?
Well no. And yes. No, you don’t have to be the volunteer equivalent of your youth pastor spouse, but you do need to fully support their ministry. You’re in this marriage thing together, and so you must be in agreement about major life goals and decisions. And as any youth pastor will tell you: Youth ministry is a way of life!
What does this mean practically? It means that each spouse has unique gifts, talents, and abilities and should use them accordingly. If the non-ministry spouse doesn’t feel they are supposed to work with youth, this should be communicated to church leadership. The spouse can then integrate into the church in a different area. The church’s governing bodies must support this, or it will lead to numerous issues both in the ministry and in your marriage. Take it from us; we learned this lesson the hard way.
But the non-ministry spouse should be supportive of the youth group—even if he or she isn’t a regular volunteer. They need to be on board with the job and all of its ever-changing demands, quirky hours, and challenging students. These kids will be a part of your life as a married couple, no matter what, and just because you’re not a youth leader doesn’t mean that you can check out of church life. Figure out ways that you can interact with youth groupers and also be yourself. Maybe this means mentoring one girl or boy. Maybe it means bringing your own children with you to youth group once a month. Or simply having a teenager and his/her family over for dinner when the opportunity arises.
You have to be yourself, even if that’s not a youth worker. But you also have to love, support, and embrace the fact that youth ministry will definitely be a part of your life.
-Jake and Melissa Kircher