Let’s face it.  If you’re in ministry you either have or will drive the bus. Here are 6 ways getting a job as a substitute school bus driver will just enhance your ministry potential.

1. You’ll connect with students by driving them to and from school.

It’s time you got out the office and used your time more wisely!  By working as a bus driver,  you’ll spend way more time connecting with students.  You’ll hear their conversation!  You’ll see them interact!  And you’ll learn about their world.  What’s the latest pop culture reference?  What are they excited or concerned about?  What major events happened during the day?  There’s not enough time to learn about this stuff on Sunday morning or Wednesday night.  And reading about it only takes your time away from students.  More interaction is what you need.  Bus driving is the key.

2. You’ll connect with the school officials by working for the district.

Connecting with school officials can be a daunting challenge.  You can always connect with students outside school hours but chances are you’ll never meet a school official outside of school.  By becoming a bus driver you’ll learn more about the ins and outs of your schools employees and programs than was ever thought possible as the outsider.  You’ll interact with staff.  You’ll get to know them personally.  You’ll become intimately acquainted with the school calendar.   When’s the next dance or week of testing?  This is good stuff to know and all too easy to miss.

3. You’ll receive valuable training and certification through your employer.

As a youth pastor we require training and certifications that are sometimes hard to come by.  Some are just easy to overlook.  When was the last time, for instance, you were trained in CPR and first aid?  Others are expensive.   My state, for instance, has made it difficult to obtain a bus drivers license.  Gone are the days when you could walk into the DMV, read a book and take an exam.  It now requires training by state certified instructors.  Courses run around 2,000 dollars.  There is another option though.  School bus barns have these instructors by which they train their employees. By becoming a school bus driver you can earn a valuable commercial drivers license and stay on top of CPR and first aid certification.

4. You’ll leave your best time available for students by working bus hours.

Secondary jobs can be a pain when you’re in youth ministry.  They tie you down and take up valuable hours when students are free from school.  But that’s what so cool about working as a substitute school bus driver.  You work both a little before and little after school.  The heart of the day is free to plan your next staff meeting, event or message.  You’re also free to plan events when students are available.  Don’t forget you’re off when students are off – weekends, holidays, summer vacations.  Finally as a substitute you’re free to choose those days that work best for you.  If an emergency arises, you just tell them you won’t be available.

5. You’ll supplement your small ministry salary by a second part-time job.

We do what we do because we love it, not because of the money.  But money is still important.   Bills are bills and sometimes youth ministry salaries just don’t cut it.  School bus driving is a great way to supplement your income without taking away from what you  love doing best.  The money could also help you to run a little farther.

6. You’ll raise needed youth funds through a second job.

And of course if money is not an issue for you or your church doesn’t want you moon lighting on a second job, the wages you earn could always make a much needed contribution to the youth ministry budget.  Can I hear an “Amen!”


Your thoughts?

Matthew Miller is a youth pastor who drives bus and blogs at Logos Made Flesh. Be sure to check out his blog for youth ministry insights as well!

Group Magazine just published their 2012 Youth Ministry Salary Survey that you might be interested in!


“The Down-and-Dirty on Youth Ministry Salaries” – the video above dives into all things ministry and money! Everything from who decides, average salaries, large church vs small church, why, what, how to support a family and our GROUP Magazine’s biennial Youth Ministry Salary Survey!

Guests included:
Rachel Cruze — Speaker, DaveRamsey.com representative, and daughter of Dave Ramsey
Tony Myles — Senior Pastor of Connection Church in Medina, OH
Brian Berry — Author, and Group Magazine’s “Family Matters” columnist

Hosted by Rick Lawrence, the editor of Group Magazine and Toby Rowe from Group Missions Trips.


How to Ask for a Raise

 —  January 27, 2012 — 2 Comments

Last week Group published their annual salary survey results for youth workers across the country. Don’t worry, they made sure that Kurt “money-bags” Johnston wasn’t included because it would have skewed things a lot higher (Josh, “I’m a little bitter” Griffin wrote that intro). The truth of the matter is most youth workers who are fortunate enough to get paid probably don’t get paid enough. And as a result, at some point you may feel the time has come to ask for a raise. Here are some thoughts on the subject:

It all starts with prayer. Take your requests to God and ask Him for guidance in what to say and how to prepare. It would be unwise to go into this challenging environment without having talked to God over a significant period of time. Ask Him for contentment no matter what the outcome. And while praying, ask God (and be okay with his answer) if your timing and motives are appropriate.

Get your facts straight
If you’re going to talk numbers, it is beyond important to make sure your numbers match up. What is average household income in your area? What do other youth workers in similar settings earn? On what merits does your church grant pay increases, and how are you meeting those?

Prep a few critical people
Be prepared for this meeting and take the time to prepare a few others, too! Chances are there is some sort of budget chairman or someone who acts as a treasurer or CFO in your church. Speak with them ahead of time to get an idea of the budget climate you’re heading into and give them a heads up on your plan. Having a few champions around the table can’t be a bad thing. And, “floating” the idea past an insider beforehand can be a great place to practice your presentation…and a great place to hear a potential voice of reason ahead of time.

Present the need
A great time to ask for a raise is when your lifestyle changes. Show them the needs of your growing family. Help them see the gap between what you make and what you need to make it work.

Show the opportunity
Connect the request to longevity. Offer a commitment of time if they give you a commitment of money. Show them what the future holds in your ministry and what you believe God will do.

Serve like you’re getting paid millions
Did you get the raise? No? It doesn’t matter. Drop the subject of money and give it over to God in your prayer time for this next season. Is He helping you prepare for a new direction? Is He teaching you contentment?

This isn’t going to be easy … so be strong and most importantly, be faithful.

NOTE: In complete honesty, this article was very difficult for us to write together. Kurt has never asked for a raise, and feels like God has blessed his family because of it. Josh has asked for a few raises during his youth ministry career and feels like God has blessed him for his willingness to put family first and make sure their needs are always met. Which is the best approach? It isn’t the approach that is “right” or “wrong”, but the attitude of our hearts.

This post was written by Josh Griffin and Kurt Johnston and originally appeared as part of Simply Youth Ministry Today free newsletter. Subscribe to SYM Today right here.

Group Magazine LIVE is happening Wednesday, January 17th (today!) at noon Mountain Time – the topic this week is money and it includes Tony Myles, Brian Berry and Rachel Cruze. It is free, so hit up SYM TV to participate!


Next week Group’s bi-annual youth worker salary survey comes out – thought it might be fun to get the pulse on money and youth ministry. Are you paid fairly at your church? Vote in this week’s poll!


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.


Looking to fire your youth pastor? You’ve come to the right place! Did you Google “how to get rid of my youth pastor” and end up here? Awesome, here are three sure-fire ways to make sure they are out the door by the end of the week:

Don’t defend them under any circumstances
They are probably wrong – wait, they are always wrong. Be sure to believe wholeheartedly what that parent said to you instead of saying to them. Leaving them helpless will make sure that you won’t have to deal with their radical new ideas for helping church be more relevant (like updating the 1972 dress code which we hold on to as a symbol of Christian separation). Youth pastors can defend themselves, and they better do it well when you bring them before the holy parent tribunal to explain the damages to the church van last weekend.

Make sure they know they serve you, not God
You’re their boss – make sure they feel their place in this organization every minute of every day. Manage every bit of their time. Heck, ask them to turn in an unsustainable weekly report (in 15-minute increments) just to let them now you don’t trust them in the slightest. Hand them your philosophy of youth ministry from back in the 60s when you were a youth pastor and ask them to run youth group exactly like you did. Make sure the memories of your past successes as a youth worker constantly overshadown any passing success they might be feeling.

Pay them so little they leave on their own
Treat them like you would a servant. They’re cheap and easily replaceable. Who cares about them anyhow?

What am I missing? Leave a comment! And tomorrow I’ll post an article called How to Keep Your Youth Pastor Forever. You won’t want to miss it!