Youth Pastor

Pastor de ovelhas1

Hello friends,

Last night was our weekly youth ministry meeting, known around the world (seriously) as Veritas. I'm climbing my way up to being here at Westminster/Veritas for 5 years, and last night I was struck by something that I think we need to recover in Youth Ministry.

My denomination doesn't bestow upon me the title of Pastor just yet, that's something that comes with ordination and an painfully long seminary degree. And while I'm super respectful of that process (sometimes), I'm going to have to go ahead and steal the title a little bit early. Not because it's a ego thing, actually it's quite the opposite.

The word pastor has its origins in shepherding. A pastor was someone who had a flock, and someone who took care of the flock. We borrow this word because of passages like John 21:15-19, the idea being that Jesus has left us to care for his flock. And so that youth group you have isn't just a rambunctious group of kids that you have to keep entertained for a few hours once a week. They're the flock that God has given you, and they're the flock that you have to take care of.

Each "sheep" has their own story, their own needs, their own desires, their own hurts. Each "sheep" has its own needs in terms of pastoral care, and a truly good youth pastor will take the time to minister to each kid as if they were one of the flock.

I get it, not everybody is in this gig for the long haul. Not everybody is going to stick with it for life. Some of us are using youth ministry as a means to get some church experience under our belts before we move on and become "real pastors." That's fine, I get that it takes a special (feel free to interpret "special" in any way you see fit!) kind of person to do this as a career. But at the end of the day, the students God has placed in your ministry are still your flock, and God has asked you to care for them.

A program will never care for sheep. A flashy preaching style will never care for the flock. A christian hipster with TOMS shoes (more on this later) won't feed the sheep. Only someone who recognizes that the flock needs the life-giving nourishment of Jesus Christ and is willing to do what it takes to lead them there can care for the flock.

So today, go ahead, even if your denomination doesn't support what I'm about to say, call yourself a youth pastor. But know that it comes with a lot of weight and responsibility!