This year my friend Jonathan McKee has become a regular guest blogger on this site and I’m so grateful. I’m away on vacation this week and I asked him to do a 4-part series on what he looks for when hiring a youth pastor! It’s very solid! Jonathan is the author of numerous books including the brand new Candid Confessions of an Imperfect Parent, as well as youth ministry books like Connect: Real Relationships in a World of Isolation. You can find his excellent blog here.

This week we kicked off the 7 Qualities I’m Looking for Hiring a Youth Pastor in which I suggested the first quality that churches should look fo. Day 2 we provide two more and yesterday another two . Today, I finish the list.

6. People’s Pastor

A youth pastor is so much more than just someone wearing trendy clothes who is assigned to babysit our kids. A youth pastor is part of a team.

So much of what we do as a church is as a church. I’m always guarded when I meet the youth pastor who has the “we vs. them” mentality with youth ministry compared to other ministries. Churches should look for a youth pastor who is excited about the vision of the church, not just the youth ministry. This youth pastor shouldn’t just be good at talking with young people, he or she should be competent talking with parents and grandparents as well.

My brother is the pastor of small church in a town with the population of 365 people. He is currently looking for a youth worker and he told me he’s looking for “a people’s pastor.” He wants a pastor that doesn’t just relate to kids, but can communicate his contagious love for young people to other adults in the congregation as well. This youth pastor has to have the ability to “connect” to people of all ages.

This will be especially important when you consider the next quality…


7. The Ability to Mobilize Volunteers

Last is not always least. In this case, I saved one of the most important qualities for last. Because if I was a senior pastor, this would probably be the number one item on my youth pastor’s job description.

A youth pastor should be devoted to recruiting a team of volunteers who will love and connect with young people.

This practice was cited by Paul and exemplified by Christ himself.

11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up (Ephesians 4:11, 12, NIV)

No youth pastors should try to do ministry by themselves.

Beware of the youth worker who just loves to “hang with kids.” Hanging with kids is great… but how much hanging can one person do? Do you want to pay one person to hang with a handful of kids, or do you want to pay one person to recruit 20 people who will each hang with kids?

Often youth workers don’t make the practice of recruiting and training volunteers a priority. Sadly, it becomes one of those “once a year” campaigns, or a task that consistently gets slid to the back burner. It should be quite the contrary. As youth workers prepare to kick off ministry each fall, it should be their primary objective .

My youth worker friend Julie who I mentioned earlier describes today’s youth pastor as “someone who works himself or herself out of a job.” She goes on to say, “They become such an exceptional leader that if they left the ministry, it would still thrive and grow because people fell more in love with Jesus than the youth pastor.”

Mobilizing workers for the harvest isn’t easy, especially today’s “New Breed” of volunteers . Point of fact, it takes quite a bit of time and effort; but it’s a vital practice.

As you interview potential youth pastors, be sure to ask:
1.Share a little about your last experience recruiting and training volunteers, including how many people you started with, and how many joined your team.
2.What were their responsibilities?
3.Do you think it’s possible to connect every kid with an adult who is investing in their lives? How is this possible?

As you embark on your journey to hire a youth pastor, make use of some of the free resources we offer on the’s Logistical Crud page resources like: a sample youth ministry job description, a sample job interview guide, sample questions to ask the church hiring you, and a sample one year youth minister evaluation.

Question:What about you?
What do you think the youth pastor’s role should be communicating to parents and relating to the rest of the congregation?
Why do you think so many youth workers don’t spend much time recruiting volunteers?
Which of these 7 qualities do you think are the most important? The most overlooked? Share your thoughts.

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