A few months back, I had a young woman ask me, “How do I convince my pastor to make my position full-time?” I sensed frustration on the end. She had been advocating for the position for quite some time but wasn’t making any progress.
If there are teenagers in your community, you need a full-time youth ministry. While that might not be fiscally possible, it still should be a goal to fund. With a full-time youth minister, you can invest in a young church and the future church.
So, why the push back? Why aren’t churches going above and beyond to hire men and women full-time to pour into the next generation? It’s because:
NO ONE HAS ANY IDEA WHAT A FULL-TIME YOUTH MINISTER DOES.
I still have teenagers, parents and church members ask me, “Wait, you get paid to be here? What does that look like?” If you cannot answer that question, then you will have a hard time advocating a full-time position to church leadership.
To convince your church that a full-time youth ministry position is needed, you need to:
KNOW THE NEED OF YOUR COMMUNITY
Your community’s next generation has a need that only the church can fill. You need to know what that need is and create a vision for it. Once you clarify the need, you can explain to others why someone needs to be fully dedicated to serving it.
PUT TOGETHER A JOB DESCRIPTION
If you are going to give 30-40 hours a week, you need to know what that position is doing. Granted, some of those tasks might change once you take on the job, but it will help others gain a visual. Research churches that have a full-time position and ask them what that might look like.(Click the link to download a sample Student Ministry Job Description)
TRACK WHAT YOU DO
While a job description can give a general idea, you still should provide specifics. From the outside, youth minister sounds vague. All people get from that job title is that you serve teenagers; however, what goes into it is left to the imagination. Track the hours you spend planning. Save the materials you use for trainings. Make sure people have a clear idea of what needs to be done on a day-to-day basis.
GAIN THE SUPPORT OF OTHERS
You’ll have a difficult time advocating for a full-time position in your church if you are the only voice. Invest in people who have influence and a healthy relationship with leadership. Cast and be clear with the vision for your position. This will help them articulate to others why a full-time position is necessary.
TRUST THAT GOD HAS A PLAN
If you really feel called to youth ministry, you need to trust that God will put you in the right place. Some churches are just not at the financial, spiritual or even emotional point to hire a full-time youth minister. It doesn’t mean they do not care about the next generation, it just means they cannot.
Have patience, seek God for guidance. He might tell you to be patient or to start looking elsewhere. If it’s where God has called you to serve Him, He will not fail.
Every church needs a full-time position, it’s just not always clear what that position needs to do. Do not grow frustrated. Instead, get the conversation rolling by engaging your pastor. Bring him along so that he can see the importance of your role and look at how to invest in you more.
Have you ever had to advocate for a full-time position? If so, how did it happen?