Have you ever been asked what you do for work and been met with a grimace or confused look after saying you’re a youth pastor? Typical follow up questions may include, “What does that consist of?”, “You just hang out with teens?”, or “Okay, but what’s your real job?”
There are many misconceptions on what it means to be a youth pastor. Let’s debunk the three biggest myths and shed some light on what the best job in the world actually entails!
Myth 1: We only have fun
Some people think we just hang out with students, play games, drink coffee, and sometimes talk about Jesus. It is true that youth ministry can be fun, and we work hard to make it an enjoyable time for students. We play insane games, sing and dance, and hang out and talk with young people. But youth ministry isn’t all fun and games. We lead students closer to Jesus as they walk through daily life. We have our ears attuned to the cultural changes happening around us. We try to prepare theologically sound messages that will equip students to follow Jesus in an ever-changing culture. We show up when they are hurting, and we visit hospitals and attend funerals. We start our days on our knees in prayer… Sure, we have fun, but there are also challenging and heartbreaking times that the world doesn’t always see.
Myth 2: It’s a stepping-stone to a real job
Many people think being a youth pastor is just a stepping stone to becoming the lead pastor of a church. While it is true that many lead pastors start as youth pastors, it does not typically stem from a strategic desire to eventually become the lead pastor. Most of the time, youth pastors become youth pastors because they love students and have a desire to pour into the next generation. Does this mean that youth pastors will never go onto becoming lead pastors or occupying a different ministry position? Absolutely not. At the end of the day, we evolve as people and have an ever-increasing desire to see all people come to know Jesus and be discipled in His Church.
Myth 3: We’re just in it for the hype
There are many pastors and youth pastors with high levels of influence and it is true that everyone wants to be known, and everyone wants to make an impact. While this is true, most youth pastors and ministry leaders are not pursuing “Christian fame.” They truly want to show love to students – not just get more Instagram followers.
As youth pastors, we may encounter crazy questions from strangers and family members for the rest of our lives – but we must ultimately remember why we said yes to God’s calling on our lives in the first place.
- What’s the craziest question you’ve ever been asked about being a youth pastor? Let us know in the comments below.
- Connect with other youth pastors by following us on Instagram and Facebook: @feedyouthministry
- Check out Feed Lead: a collection of videos designed to equip you and your team with innovative approaches to youth ministry!
- Check out our FREE small group series for weekly lesson plans.
- The Feed Team would love to connect with you as you seek to make changes in your youth ministry. Reach out to us at [email protected] to find out how we can partner with and support you in your ministry.