One of the key ingredients to effective youth ministry is that the ministry is supported by the senior pastor. I have found this to be so true.
I will never forget the time I was sitting in worship listening to my pastor’s sermon. I don’t remember the text he was preaching on, but I do remember that he was preaching about how the home is the primary place of faith nurturing, and how we need to be thinking differently about the role of the congregation in this process.
Essentially he said, “No longer does the institution ‘faith’ young people. Our job is to walk alongside parents, grandparents, neighbors, aunts, uncles, godparents, and mentors as they walk alongside young people.”
I remember feeling as if I was getting taller the longer the sermon went. I remember thinking to myself, “Well, listen to that. This man is preaching my job!” I was elated — because I felt my REAL job was valued, understood, and supported.
Not only did I feel confident that what I was up to in this congregation was worthy, but I personally felt as if this job, this passion, this profession, was real.
A congregation often takes on the interests, style and passion of its leadership — namely, the senior pastor, as that person is indeed the shepherd of that particular flock. Therefore it is critcially important that the pastor understand this changing culture of youth and household ministry so that he or she can articulate, support, and “preach” this shift. It makes an enormous difference in how effective a youth ministry leader can be. In fact, 10 percent of the assets address the pastor:
- Spiritual Influence: knows and models the transforming presence of God in life and ministry
- Interpersonal Competence: builds a sense of community and relates well with adults and youth
- Supports Youth Ministry: understands, guides, and advocates for youth ministry
- Supports Leaders: affirms and mentors youth and adults leading youth ministry
The single investment of the pastor clearly multiplies in the life of the congregation.
Kristen Baltrum lives and serves in Longmont, Colo.
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