Changing the Image of the Youth Minister
For the past twenty years, the average tenure of youth ministers has been disgustingly short. “Fifteen hundred Youth Pastors leave the ministry each month due to moral failure, getting a better paid position, spiritual burnout, or contention in their churches” (Krejcir 1).
What factors are causing this? Do they have commitment issues? Do the senior pastors not trust them? Do they see the job as a stepping-stone to bigger and better things? This paper will demonstrate that the main reasons causing the short tenure of youth ministers are church bureaucracy, senior pastor skepticism, the stepping-stone mindset, the messiah complex, insufficient budget, getting hired, and depression (Cook 1).
Once a youth minister makes it past the enormous task of getting hired at a church, they are only around for a short period of time. “The average stay of a youth pastor is somewhere between twelve and eighteen months” (Cook 1). Teenagers are losing their faith left and right. In the same time period, there has been a steady decline of Christ following students. "Eighty-eight percent of the children raised in Christian families leave the church at the age of eighteen never to return. Only four percent of the "Bridger" generation, of Generation Y, will be Bible-believing Christians when they reach adulthood. All the while, the twenty-something male is almost completely absent from the American church…” (Gill 1). Simply put, youth ministers are taking the blame for the decline of students, and causing great skepticism concerning their commitment and efficacy within the eyes of the senior pastor.
Part of the reason for the importance of a relationship with the kids is that the youth minister is one of the key people in their life and also that they, the youth minister, are responsible for holding firm the key to a moral way of living for the youth. If instilled properly in the hearts and minds of teenagers, then the number of people leaving their faith after the age of eighteen would not be so high. As a reminder, eighty-eight percent of teenagers after the age of eighteen are leaving the church and never coming back. Imagine the potential drop in this number if youth ministry was considered a long-term profession in its own right, rather than a stepping-stone to achieving a senior pastoral role.
Barna, Focus on the Family, and Fuller Seminary released a study “Fifteen hundred Youth pastors leave the ministry each month due to moral failure, getting a better paid position, spiritual burnout, or contention in their churches” (Krejcir 1). Having so many ministers leave is causing a lot of disasters within their church communities in multiple ways. The first and most important is that it is causing the senior pastor to be extremely skeptical of new workers i.e. youth pastors coming in. Second, the youth programs are not connecting youths to an important role model in their life due to the frequency of new youth...