5 Truths Every Youth Pastor Forgets

Maybe it’s just my attention span, zeal for life, desire for innovation or fact that I am getting older, but there are a few truths that I constantly forget and have to be reminded of as I lead our student ministry. I don’t think I am alone. I think many of us get so focused on reaching teenagers, pushing the church forward, planning events and solving problems that we get surprised by the same realities in ministry over and over. Here are five truths I constantly forget …

1. You Can’t Reach Every Teen 

I know it’s a hard truth, but not every teen will connect with you. The inner pastor inside can’t understand this, but it’s true. This is why a youth ministry built around one leader never works. I have to elevate other leaders in my ministry to connect with unique and God-made teenagers! If you are like me, we all tend to value our own value a little too much. Teens need Jesus and a few spiritual mentors more than a single relationship with one student pastor.

2. You Can’t Please Every Parent (or Elder or Deacon or Staff Member) 

I’m always caught off guard when adults can’t understand the need, strategy and cost of reaching teens. The truth is that there will always be adults who push back on our passion to reach the next generation and empower them. Because I don’t like this reality, I tend to want to forget this fact! Many adults only want safety and a process to conform teens to the past generation’s expectations. Not many student pastors I know are into that conform idea!

3. Some Volunteers Will Not Stick 

Even if we train, cast vision, encourage and support volunteers at a high level, some volunteers will not connect and will walk away or have to be asked to walk away. I desire for leaders to thrive so much I forget that sometimes it might not work out. It always hurts when it doesn’t work out.

4. Every Event Won’t Be a Success 

When things don’t work, I always tend to blame myself and forget that innovation demands risk and risk demands the possibility of failure. If we are trying to innovate, some steps forward will simply not work. Some events will flop and that has to be OK if we are going to reach this generation effectively.

5. Pushing for Change Will Bring Conflict 

Yes, even from teens. People resist change even when it is needed. I know this and still, when people push back on change, I am constantly surprised from where the push-back comes from. Change brings opposition. Remember that Michael; PLEASE REMEMBER THAT! (I am now talking to myself, but it is my blog anyway!)

These are five realities I forget, what about you? What are some things you forget as a next generation leader?  

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Michael Bayne
Michael is a follower of Christ, a husband, a dad and a pastor. He serves Grace Community Church in Clarksville, Tennessee as the Executive Pastor. He has served in multiple family ministry roles as a kids, student, and family pastor for 16 years. He’s also the Team Leader @ Parent Ministry for Kids and drinks way too much Diet Mountain Dew! Follow Michael on twitter at @michael_bayne.

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