For the past 14 years I have been doing something in the student ministry world. I have been a student ministry intern, a volunteer youth pastor, a middle school ministry director, and a student ministry pastor. Last July, I took a new step and took one foot out of the student ministry world. I became the Next Gen Pastor at my church. Since then, I have been asked quite a few times “What is a Next Gen Pastor?… like, what do they do? Isn’t that just a cooler name for a youth pastor?” Those are all great questions… except the last one. I despise the last one 🙂
So here is the best way I can explain what my role as Next Gen Pastor is.. and then I will tell you why EVERY CHURCH needs one 🙂
My Role as Next Gen Pastor means:
1) Gatekeeper of the vision of the Next Gen Ministries of our church
One of my main responsibilities is to cast the vision for where we are going for the next gen ministries (children’s and students) in our church. It’s my job to passionately care about these ministries and make sure that they are cohesively going toward the same goal.
2) Coach for the staff of the Next Gen Ministries of our church
I not only cast and maintain the vision for these areas… but I also coach and manage the leadership of these areas. It is the role of the Next Gen Pastor to help these ministry leaders be successful in their areas of leadership. That means meeting all together as a Next Gen team. That means meeting with each area’s leadership team individually (children’s ministry & student ministry). That means coaching each leader individually as well. If you were to ask me to tell you in one word what my position was all about… I might just say “MEETINGS.” 🙂 To some people that might seem like the kiss of death… but to me, it is crucial to maintain health and success in ministry.
3) Direct Leadership over the Student Ministries of our church
This is where my specific job probably differs from other Next Gen Pastors or Family Ministry Pastors. I still maintain the responsibility of leading our student ministry. This is where I get to be a player/coach. I coach the staff and interns of student ministries… but am still heavily invested in the lives of students and our small group leaders. I regularly teach to either our middle schoolers or high schoolers on the weekends. So I am still deeply in the trenches of ministry life… not just at the 30,000 foot level. And I think that is important for me and for our church.
Now here is why I think EVERY CHURCH needs a Next Gen Pastor:
Every church needs this position because you need a leader who is 100% invested in the WHOLE of next gen ministries and who can see it from start (birth) to finish (college) and set a healthy direction for it. For most smaller churches… the responsibility of this falls on either the Sr. Pastor who then manages a youth pastor and children’s director… or it falls on the children’s pastor and the student pastor to figure it out together… or, let’s just be honest, it never gets figured out and silos rule the day. So if you want to have your church free from silos in the next gen world and not overload your Sr. Pastor (who has enough on their plate…) this is the way to go. (or maybe I am just biased 🙂 )