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3 Ways To Be a Better Youth Pastor

There are many areas in which Youth Pastors could use some major improvement. I don’t mean this as a knock against the whole of Youth Ministry, but that personally and individually, we all know where we are weakest as Youth Pastors (Bonus tip: If you don’t know where you are weakest, you can be a better Youth Pastor by figuring out your strengths and weaknesses).

But I know there is already so much written on improving as a Youth Pastor. And much of it is great advice. Something that you will most likely always read in a post of “How to be a better Youth Pastor” is reading your Bible more, and that couldn’t be more true. Connecting with God through both the scriptures and prayer is definitely the best thing you can do for your ministry.

But I believe there are also a number of other things we can do to step up our game, and below are three things that I believe lead to better Youth Ministry. 

1 | Read more Blogs…

I have definitely noticed the times where I have learned the most were the times I was reading the most blogs. I love to read the blogs of other Youth Pastors because I love reading about what other youth ministries are doing, and it can spark creativity in myself, whether it gets me thinking about an event because of something they did, or I see something that sparks not so creative, its just an event that I think would work in our context and would be awesome.

I also have grown from the community that can be built by regularly reading blogs. I love that there are guys out there that I may have met and hung out with for a few days and others that I have never met in person, yet we are able to now text each other and really pray with each other. I don’t know these guys, yet at the same time, I feel like I do.

Some of my favorite blogs are ones that aren’t part of the good ol’ boys club, for example, Nick Farr who writes EverythingPastor.com , Ben Kerns, who writes Averageyouthministry.com , and JC Thompson writes JCisonline.com.

I was going to make it a separate point, but I also believe that writing a Blog leads to growth. Even if no one reads it, forcing yourself to write out why you do the things you do in youth ministry really sparks growth, at least for me. I only have a handful of people read me weekend in review posts, but I don’t write those for others, I write those for myself, and I love it.

2 | Read Leadership Books…

Read your bible, read books on Theology, but challenge yourself to grow as a leader and learn from other leaders. Whether we like it or not, Youth Pastors are leaders. We don’t always act like it, we don’t always get treated like it. But if our ministry is going to be as effective as it can and should be, we as Youth Pastors need to be Leaders.

I try and read 5 books on leadership a year, and I’d have to say my favorite one right now is Axiom by Bill Hybels. I highly encourage you to both check it out and get into more Leadership books.

3 | Take Time off…

One of the areas I am failing right now is being able to unplug. Moving to a new ministry, trying to overcome expectations that were placed on me from a previous church that aren’t here now, and just the transition as a whole as really had me going at full speed for the last several months. I need to be able to take a break with my wife and get away for even just a night where I don’t bring my laptop or cell phone, I don’t check twitter or read a blog or even think about Youth Ministry.

We all need those times where we are able to just celebrate the fact that we are alive.

And to be a better Youth Pastor we need to have times that intentionally remind us that we are more than just Youth Pastors. Its so easy to get so wrapped up in Youth Ministry that we forget how to be children of God. We have to have those times, and Im not just talking about one day a week where we don’t go to the office. I mean really getting away for a few hours. I know that Youth Pastors don’t get paid much so it seems impossible to get away for a night. But this is one of the best investments a Youth Pastor can make in their marriage, in their ministry, and in their life.

So those are me three tips for being a better youth pastor. What tips would you add?

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Ben Read has been mentoring youth since he was 18 years old. He grew up as a pastor's son, but he and his siblings devoted to breaking that stereotype. Committed to being a life-long learner, Ben understands that in the grand-scheme of things, he knows nothing, but is also a firm believer that God can and does work in people's lives before the age of 30, its one of the reasons he loves Youth Ministry. Ben met his wife, Sarah, while they attended Liberty University, and they currently serve youth in the small town of Trenton, IL , about a half hour away from St. Louis.