It’s not always easy being a youth pastor. In fact, most church members and parents look to youth pastors to be one of the biggest role models in their children’s lives.
With expectations so high, it’s vital to find a great youth pastor to lead the youth in your church. Part of the search is finding one that meshes well with your church family.
The other part is looking for the unique qualities that set great youth pastors apart from the rest.
1. Incredible People Skills
Having incredible people skills goes hand in hand with being any type of effective pastor. As a youth pastor, people skills are even more important. Teens are going through a wide variety of changes in their lives. From social to physical changes, it’s tricky to navigate their ups and downs without making them feel any more uncomfortable than they already are.
Youth pastors have to know how to interact with teens to become not just a leader, but a friend. Of course, they also have to deal with questions and concerns from parents with ease.
2. Intimate Bible Knowledge
This one should be a given. However, there’s an extra level here. A youth pastor not only needs to know the Bible inside and out, but they should also know how to explain it in a way that relates to today’s youth. During a standard sermon, adults probably aren’t going to ask too many questions. Kids and teens aren’t that shy. They always have questions and doubts. Youth pastors must know the Bible well enough to effectively explain and answer those questions.
3. Organizational Skills
Just because the youth seem disorganized, it doesn’t mean they want a leader that’s the same way. To keep track of everything going on, a youth pastor needs to stay organized. From having a favorite tool for tracking everything to knowing what to do to keep a group of teens in line, organization is crucial. It’s also why nearly every job listing for a youth pastor lists organizational skills as a requirement.
4. Updated Cultural Knowledge
Odds are, most of your adult members aren’t quite as attached to today’s cultural issues as today’s youth. It’s easy to just focus on Bible studies. However, with youth ministry, you need to understand the cultural issues affecting the youth you’re leading. A great youth pastor not only understands the Bible, but keeps up with cultural issues and trends and uses the Bible to help guide their groups through various issues and struggles.
Kids sit in classrooms five days a week. When the weekend comes, they’re tired of being talked to. They want a youth pastor that goes beyond telling them to do this or that. It takes creativity to break through and make kids pay attention, especially with teens. Without thinking outside the box a little, a youth pastor won’t be successful.
6. Easily Communicate
The way you talk with kids and teens is much different than with adults. Youth pastors have to be able to communicate easily with all ages. They must be incredible listeners and work to understand the needs of the kids in their care.
Even though every other trait and skill on this list is important, one of the most important might be patience. A great youth pastor deals with a group of kids without losing their temper. Even when 10 voices start yelling out questions at once, youth pastors must know how to be patient, calm down the group and still answer all the questions. By showcasing patience, kids and teens respect the youth pastor more, making them more effective at their job.
8. Engaging Teaching Skills
Every child learns differently and it’s important for a youth pastor to appeal to those varying needs. Having an engaging teaching style is vital to grabbing and keeping the attention of kids and teens. As said before, the youth in youth ministry spend hours in classrooms all week. They’re not eager to pay attention to a boring sermon or lecture.
Instead, an engaging talk about current cultural events, how it affects them and what the Bible says about it all works better. A great youth pastor constantly learns new techniques for engaging kids. It’s through these techniques that kids build better relationships with God, their family and friends.
If your church is searching for a great youth pastor, start by posting the most important traits on your church’s site. It’ll make it easier for potential youth pastors to find your church.