I am in youth ministry because of one conversation.

OK, that isnt’ entirely true – I’m in youth ministry because of a myriad of things: being raised well by godly parents, shaping moments throughout my childhood by amazing Christian men and women, seeing the need for leadership and love in the life of a teenager, my own specific passion and shape.

But I do remember one specific conversation with a guy name Jerry. Jerry was the Dean of Men at the Bible College I went to and 1 of 2 very influential men at that school for me (the other being the football coach and Bible teacher, Terry). One day, Jerry said to me – “Why are you going into business, you were made to be a youth pastor? I can totally see it in every aspect of your life and heart.” Then he laighted a little, shrugged and moved on. But I couldn’t shrug off our conversation – it stuck with me and I began to wrestle, pray and get council about this possible direction for my life. Sounds a little more dramatic than it actually was honestly, but 20 years later, I’m still in youth ministry and loving it.

All that to say this: every year I make it a point to ask God to help me interact with a couple students who need to be “called to youth ministry.” I look in our ministry or try to be discerning at an event and talk to a teenager who has the potential to do incredible things as a youth worker. Sometimes it has been spot on and that person is now in youth ministry. Sometimes I’ve missed them altogether and a kid I never expected to be a youth pastor enters the field. Sometimes it is an epic fail and that person leaves the church altogether.

But my win/loss record isn’t what is important – it is the conversation that counts!

JG

How To Lead Your Pastor

Chris Wesley —  January 31, 2013 — 13 Comments

I used to have heated arguments with my pastor.  They were exhausting and painful.  I remember walking into the church office after a moment of confrontation filled with resentment thinking, “If I ran this church it would be better because I would…”  All that mindset did was drain me.  Many times the reason pastors and youth pastors clash is because of a disagreement on decisions, strategies or leadership.

While you may never want to be a pastor you might have some thought and ideas on how it should be done.  Before you get ready to go off and plant your own church, consider that maybe you need to do a better job of leading up.  If you ever want your pastor to listen to your ideas and you want to LEAD UP you need to make sure you:

  • Offer Encouragement: Your pastor takes on much of the criticism and burden that leading a church will bring.  It’ll be easy for him to feel defeated and hopeless, you need to be a cheerleader.  Not only will this give him confidence; but, it will help him see that you are loyal to his leadership.  Loyalty is often rewarded.
  • Practice Obedience:  As the leader your pastor needs to make decisions.  Some you’ll agree with and others not so much.  If you disobey your pastor and constantly undermine his decisions you are showing a lack of trust and signs of arrogance. Showing obedience to your pastor is also a sign of trust in God.  After all your pastor is in the position he is in because of God.  While he might not always have it right, your obedience will help you build clout so that you can guide him in the right direction.
  • Praise Publicly Confront Privately: Never criticize your pastor publicly.  When you speak about your pastor in the open you shape people’s perspectives.  You will not only hurt his image, but the churches and even yours.  If you have a problem with a decision he’s made or something he’s done confront him privately.  Set up a meeting where you can chat one on one, so that he’s not embarrassed in front of others.
  • Continually Communicate: If you ever want to influence up you need to consistently communicate with your pastor.  That means being honest with your struggles and letting him know your needs.  It also requires that you ask your pastor, “How can I serve you?”  What you are really saying to him is, “How can I help you out?”  This builds a healthy relationship so that when you are in trouble or in need you have an ally.

The relationship you have with your pastor is going to depend on your personalities.  Even if you are coming from completely different ends of the earth, you can influence him by earning his respect, trust and loyalty.  You won’t get your way in ministry if you are knocking him down, disobeying his decisions and making him out to be a bad guy.  Lead up by showing him you are worth following.

How do you strengthen the relationship you have with your pastor?