We have heard the oft quoted definition of insanity as being: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. That being the case, Youth Ministry in North America is rife with insanity. Over the next two weeks we will consider ten things that, if implemented well, could stop the insanity and provide rich environments for long term healthy youth ministry.
#1 Hiring is much easier than firing, so hire well. (Prov. 21:5; Prov. 16:3)
Hiring a person for the Youth Pastor can be an enormously difficult task, but when done correctly it can be incredibly beneficial for long term, effective youth ministry.
- Hire a youth pastor who is committed to follow through. In order to be effective in youth ministry environments, the youth pastor must be capable of follow through of the tasks necessary for effective ministry.
- Clearly communicate the non-negotiables for the Youth Ministry. If the church has the non-negotiable direction established prior to the interview it will enable the interviewing group’s job much easier. “Are you willing to buy-in to our ministry direction and help us accomplish what we have determined is our church’s vision for youth ministry?”
- Don’t starve them out. If you pay sufficiently, the youth pastor is likely to stick around longer. If you can’t pay them so that money is not a constant source of concern, do not hire. Instead, work through volunteers and wait until such time that God provides the resources. It doesn’t matter what other churches are paying in your demographic, if the youth pastor is living at poverty levels the church is not meeting the needs of that youth pastor and has no business adding a full time position. A good rule of thumb is: what is the median income in the area for a person with equivalent experience and education?
- Clearly define the expectations. The church must do the hard job of thinking through every aspect of what will be expected of the youth pastor: work hours, time in the office, growth, “success”, spouse involvement, and other unspoken expectations of the culture of the church.
When practiced intentionally, these four categories can help in hiring wisely, so that firing isn’t as likely. It will take some time, realignment of priorities, and intentionality, but will be well worth the effort.
Note: some of the ideas in this post are adapted from Mark DeVries’ book Sustainable Youth Ministry: Why Most Youth Ministry Doesn’t Last and What Your Church Can Do About It.