So yesterday I was meeting with a relatively new-to-the-game youth pastor. He is an awesome guy. I really admire him and his story. He and a few of his friends felt called to start a church in an area that most church planters would shy away from. He was a full-time marketplace employee but felt called into youth ministry, so he left his job to become a full-time volunteer youth pastor. That’s right… VOLUNTEER. NO MONEY. That is inspiring. Anyway, I was talking to him about where he was at in his ministry and where he could take this thing and what it would take to get it there. A while back, someone shared this chart with me, and it revolutionized how I viewed youth ministry leadership and what it would take to move me to the next level. So this is what I shared with him:
anywhere from 1-30 students; 2-5 volunteers; leader knows and interacts with every student. student views youth guy as a SUPERHERO!! They are at games, plays, events… you name it, the youth guy is at it. HIGHLY RELATIONAL youth ministry.
40-80 students; 10-20 volunteers; 1+ part time staff; leader knows every student’s name, but only interacts with a few. the student pastor primarily leads through some key volunteers. This is the point where the student pastor realizes that he cannot disciple/mentor every student, so he begins to equip and empower volunteers to do this.
20-30 volunteers; 1 full time staff member; 1-2 part time staff; 80-150 students; leader still knows a majority of the students names, but has disciplined himself to select a few to hang out with (usually a student leadership team). His primary leadership happens with the volunteers and staff. He leads them to lead the students.
40-100+ volunteers; 2+ full time staff members; multiple part time staff; intern program; super volunteers (gives student pastor 15-20 hours/week above their normal jobs); 150-400+ students; the mega-church golden boy of youth ministry. This student pastor primarily leads staff to lead volunteers to lead students. He is a leader of leaders.
Here is what each role needs a youth pastor to be:
assistant = shepherd; student pastor = coach ; student director = equipper; student executive = visionary
that lunch was a blast. There were so many fond memories of youth ministry rushing into my head as we talked about this stuff because I have lived at 3 out of the 4 levels. I was telling him that there were things that I absolutely LOVED about all of the levels and things that were very DIFFICULT about all of the levels. my encouragement to him was this: evaluate where you are at, love where you are at, dream about the future, and plan to grow as a leader and your youth ministry will follow.
I’m praying for my friend Josh. I know God has big plans for him and his ministry!