Really enjoyed Mike Calhoun’s blog with a new post called Youth Pastors Are Overrated? on his blog last week. I have a ton of respect for his work over the past 40 years and after you read this clip, be sure to head there and see his final answer to the question!

So, be honest. Do you think Youth Pastors are Overrated? Do you think they get way too much attention in churches today? When I mention Youth Pastors, what comes to your mind? Is it youth camp pranks, noisy kids in the sanctuary, the inventive colors he painted the youth room with – or maybe just the strange way he dresses?

Whatever your reaction may be, perhaps you just don’t get all the fuss over this guy. After all, what does he really do? Is there a real need for this person? Would your teens be just as well off without him around? Couldn’t you save the church money if you did not have to pay him?

This brings me back to my original question, “Are Youth Pastors Overrated?” I have had the privilege of working with churches and Youth Pastors for over 40 years so I think I can answer this question with some authority. Obviously over that time I have met some who were not committed or even competent.


We had a ton of camp decisions made this summer – just like you will or did. I enjoyed what Mike Calhoun posted today on his blog about making camp decisions stick. He would know, he’s led an amazing camp for what seems like forever. Here’s a clip of his thoughts, worth heading to his site and reading the rest:

  • Remember, decisions don’t change your life, they change your direction. Students should never walk away from a commitment service thinking they are done. They are just beginning.
  • Realize that students are capable of making life-changing, lifelong decisions. Do not discount decisions made by your younger students.
  • Being emotional does not discredit their decisions nor does the lack of emotion. Some students are wired to be more emotional than others. This is not about emotions; it is about facts.
  • Don’t assume the students know what to do following their decisions. This is typically an awkward time for them so help with clarification.Help the students answer the question… “What’s next?”
  • Don’t overload them with the details of the next ten years; help them one step at a time.


We’ve all been there, but some of us don’t want to admit it. How could we be so bold as to question if God really cares? In reality many of us have walked through a time in our lives when we thought God had abandoned us. In their song “Never Alone,” Barlow Girl expresses that feeling perfectly; “I waited for you, today, but you didn’t show.”

Here’s the bottom line; if we as leaders are asking these questions then you can imagine what is going on inside the students in your youth group. As they face pressure and crisis, they have real questions that deserve authentic answers. Questions like:

  • “God, if You know everything, why do I feel so alone?”
  • “God, why did You let my friend commit suicide?”
  • “God, I have a question for You, ‘Why did You let me get abused?'”
  • “God, if you’re really in control, why can’t I get rid of this secret sin?”
  • “God, if You really know everything, why don’t you fix everything and why don’t you just fix everybody, because if I was God, that’s what I would do.”

There are no Christian clich

This Christmas break I finished up a review copy of the Mike Calhoun book The Greenhouse Project: Cultivating Students of Influence – a good read for anyone looking to overhaul or reemphasize discipleship in their student ministry. The book actually covers more than discipleship, but the theme is very primary and central to his thesis that of all the purposes for student ministry – discipleship is the one that matters the most. Each chapter is guided by a contributing writer like Greg Stier, Mel Walker or Jay Strack, so while the writing feels a bit random, the multiple voices lends credibility and varied perspective. My wife actually graduated from Word of Life Bible Institute and I have enjoyed the camps and speakers in the past – I think the book is good for many settings though if you’re a “Word of Life church” it’ll really hit you where you’re at. Great title, too, our student ministry should be a greenhouse for helping students grow up in Christ.