Having successfully run all the fathers out of the Church, the Church now wonders why good “youth ministers” are hard to find.
7 Reasons It’s Hard to Find a Youth Minister
By Griffin Gulledge, 31 August 2021
Six months ago, my wife and I picked up our lives and moved to a different town as I began a new pastorate. As we searched for a home, we quickly realized there are very few houses on the market, nearly all of them sell well above the asking price, and the options are slim. We were house-hunting at the top of the market.
The tough housing market has nothing on today’s youth-minister drought. In my conversations with other pastors and church leaders, it’s one of the most common complaints: “We can’t find a youth minister.”
What an interesting start to the article. “The cost of living here is sky-high. Anyway, we can’t find a youth minister to come here.”
Here are seven possible reasons for this shortage.
You don’t pay them a living wage?
1. Youth-Ministry Horror Stories
Pastors talk and the stories get out. There are too many nightmare stories of those who started ministering to students and found the jump to lead pastor was an uncrossable chasm. There are those who were mistreated, underpaid, and given no respect, as if they’re holy babysitters rather than “real” ministers. Parents outsource discipleship to youth ministers—and then blame them for their own children’s struggles. Burnout is real, and youth ministry seems to chew up and spit out far too many young ministers.
Boom, there it is! The Gospel Coalition doesn’t pay them enough in either money or respect. Why, then, does he need six more guesses?
2. Allure of Church Planting
Church-planting has become far more popular among young people called to ministry. A generation ago, it was widely believed that at 25 or 30 years old a minister is still too inexperienced for the grueling ministry of church-planting. Instead, they might start as a youth minister to serve and learn the ropes. Now, many seminary graduates would rather work at a coffee shop and help with a church plant than face the difficulties of youth ministry.
This is the same reason, restated. Youth ministry is so little respected by Pastor Boomer that it’s where he stashes all the upstart new bloods so they won’t threaten his authority. “You need another, let’s say, fifteen years of experience before you can be a Real Man like me.”
“Nah, I’ll take a shortcut by starting fresh. Maybe pay off some student debts while I’m at it.”
Do you realize how badly you have failed, Pastor Gulledge, when being a barista whore for Sixbucks is more attractive than being a father figure to all the children who mysteriously ended up fatherless in the Father’s House? Here’s a tip: stop destroying fathers!
3. Ungodly Motivations About Money
There’s less money in youth ministry than anywhere else. Is that wrong? Yes. Is it reality? Also yes. Many young pastors rightly refuse to impoverish their families like countless pastors once did. On the other hand, some who are called and qualified would rather keep selling cars or cellphones, as they did in seminary, than take a pay cut for what God has called them to do.
This is the same reason again. “If you’re called by God then I don’t have to pay you.”
4. Desires for Upward Mobility
Large churches require lots of manpower. You can move up the ranks more quickly in these larger ponds. It’s no longer uncommon to turn down a ministry position to remain in a well-placed internship, residency, or fellowship program. That’s not a criticism per se. I did a residency program, and some of them provide very fruitful experiences. It’s revealing of our times that many called to pastor would rather fundraise their salary to work at a megachurch than be a youth pastor in a small town or a small church.
This is the same reason AGAIN. Pastor Podunk demands seminary-trained professionals instead of ‘holy babysitters’ for the handful of kids attending Backwater Church, but what a surprise that he isn’t paying enough and is upset that recruits would rather be interns eating food.
I’m having flashbacks the the recent crop of news stories “Nobody wants to work even when I pay more than minimum wage!”
We’re a small business manufacturing custom thermoset composite moldings. We run our factory 24 hours a day, four days a week and sometimes on Friday.
Lately, we have had to lock our front office doors. People receiving unemployment benefits are required to show that they have put some effort into finding work. Some show up at our offices to fulfill this requirement — usually on a Friday. So we lock our doors to avoid them. We’ve resorted to only hiring people who have worked 90 days for a temporary staffing agency.
We have about 60 employees and are looking to hire four more. The jobs are entry-level press operator jobs. They are not difficult. The presses run on automatic, but someone needs to inspect and clean the parts when they are produced by the machine.
And we offer a competitive wage: $8.50 to $9.50 an hour. The $8.50 is just the starting wage. After 90 days we increase it to $9.50 to $10 an hour. But many people add up their constantly renewed unemployment, food stamps and housing assistance and realize that they can make as much not working, as working.
By definition, that is not competitive.
We could raise wages to $100 an hour, fill the positions and then go out of business, taking all our jobs with us.
*sigh* That’s the idea. Please start noticing that independent manufacturers going out of business is, in fact, a goal of the Plandemic and all the market manipulations preceding it. The public-private Corporatocray, aka Fascism, sees your independent existence as a threat. What can you do about that? Maybe offer to pay people under the table so that’s $9.50 of take-home, untaxed pay that they can add to their unemployment check. It’s that simple. Why are you obeying a government that wants you dead? They’re gonna do UBI anyway so just be an ‘early adopter’.
Or, you can keep bitching that slavery is the future, so sad, future headcount.
5. Idolizing Places and People
For many in seminary, leaving the city where their school is located is akin to Jonah being called to Nineveh. Small town, or small church, ministry has come to be seen as a punishment rather than a privilege.
That’s not why Jonah avoided Nineveh, but I digress because this is a fresh, non-remunerative reason!
But what can reasonably be expected? First you want aspiring priests to spend years attending college then seminary, then you want them to suddenly leave the academic world behind. People are creatures of habit. Studying finance and foreign languages in order to have a career of working with people… that’s two different skillsets.
Instead of demanding a college education from people who are better with kids than Latin, why don’t you just charge new youth ministers $10,000 for the privilege of working for you? Faster for you and cheaper for them!
Or the minister’s spouse might draw a line: “I will not move X distance away from my (mother, family, friends, etc.).” Insisting God only call us where we are comfortable is not a limited way of accepting his call—it’s a socially accepted way of rejecting his call.
HE WENT THERE! “I can’t be your youth pastor because my wife wears the pants in our marriage and says God has called me elsewhere.” That’s a very good reason to not be in church authority ANYWHERE.
6. Ministry Aspirations
There are some good motivations that contribute to this trend. Many potential youth ministers are not passionate about ministry to students in particular, and yet do not want to treat the position like a stepping-stone. That is noble. If you just want to build a résumé and jump out after six months, don’t apply.
But if your passion is to make disciples, there’s no more fertile ground than among students. It is not a demotion to invest there for a season while being open to future opportunities as a lead pastor, discipleship pastor, or missionary.
We’re back to the same old reason. “Don’t think of it as a demotion or dues-paying! Think of it as an opportunity that I don’t want!”
Which is it? “Youth ministry is fine for a season on your way to a REAL job, but don’t treat it as a stepping stone”?
7. Broken Promises
Yet again: no funding, no respect, maltreatment.
Youth leaders often have tales about senior pastors who never spent time with them or invested in them. Worse, this can happen after recruitment stages where discipleship, investment, and preaching opportunities were promised. When those don’t materialize, it can be devastating. Nobody wants to take a ministry position only to be isolated and ignored, and to get stuck.
Such was my personal experience. I got the job of youth leader because senior pastor couldn’t be bothered, but at the same time he didn’t back me up when I made a necessary but unpopular decision to banish a troublemaker. The brat was reinstated and I Noped out.
Youth ministers are hard to find for the same reason that fathers are hard to find: the senior pastor plays AMOG. He demands only the highest (government) qualifications while refusing to give any support or $$$, because he feels so insecure as a leader that his first instinct is to crush all rivals.
Worse yet, not only do countless youth pastors leave the ministry after being mistreated, stepped on, or never defended by their senior pastor, but often it is that pastor who recruited them into the role! These failures to invest in youth ministers—or worse, directly mistreat them—hurt the church and make youth ministry unappealing to the next generation. Pastors can make disciples in part by investing in youth pastors.
How do you make disciples? BY TRAINING YOUR REPLACEMENTS, LIKE CHRIST DID. Show me an irreplaceable pastor and I’ll show you a personality cult.
Youth ministry can be an incubator for pastors as they learn to work with volunteers, build systems, and preach the Word—all with the investment of a senior pastor. Or it can be a lifelong calling to serve students.
Pastor AMOG must become less so that the other men of the Church can become more. But typically, he sabotages all the other men so that when he passes on, there is nobody to succeed him. Neither amateur fathers nor professional youth ministers. The demands keep coming and the rewards never do.
Here’s the consequence:
Most Protestant churches open for services, but congregants slow in returning: study
By Leonardo Blair, 9 November 2021
A majority of Protestant churches are now open for in-person services, but foot traffic has been slow to return to the pews, particularly for black churches, a new survey from Lifeway Research shows.
The survey of 1,000 Protestant pastors conducted Sept. 1-29 shows that some 98% of all Protestant churches are now open for in-person worship services, nearly matching pre-pandemic levels.
Still, data on in-person church attendance looks very little like it did pre-pandemic. Compared to figures from January 2020, the survey showed that as of August, 13% of churches were attracting less than 50% of their pre-COVID-19 attendance. Some 35% of pastors reported attendance levels between 50% and 70% for the period, while another 30% reported attendance levels between 70% and 90%.
About one in eight of all churches said they were at attendance levels of between 90% and 100%, while 9% said they had more people in August than they did prior to the pandemic.
“Many pastors and church leaders are anxious for the whole congregation to gather physically together,” Scott McConnell, executive director of Lifeway Research, said in a statement. “Worship attendance is improving, but there is still a large gap between today’s in-person attendance and pre-COVID levels.”
Isn’t there a point at which church attendance should be a benefit to church attenders? When the laymen needed the sort of social safety net that churches offer, the churches shut their doors in the peoples’ faces. When the government gave permission for reopening, the pastors obediently did so and now wonder, in most cases, why 1/3 or more of the sheep aren’t coming back to be sheared and lectured at.
That’s the opposite of discipleship. That’s a shepherd with a taste for lamb. Where are all the good men, er, youth ministers? Working at Starbucks talking smack about you on Twitter, if you dare to look outside your little sandbox.