Once upon a church noticeboard – Encouraging Youth Pastors
By Darrel Hofland for SUmag
We all like those little encouraging notes people give to us. Youth Pastors are no exception. Some people stick encouraging notes on your fridge. Others may slip one into your pocket. And others may leave one at your workstation. I want you to imagine that you have stumbled across your church notice board and spotted these two notes of encouragement:
DEAR CHURCH LEADER AND CHURCH MEMBER,
I have an important reminder for those of you who are blessed to have a youth pastor in your church.
They come in all shapes, sizes, and styles. Some have bad hair. Some may wear skinnies. Others may wear weird T-shirts. And still others may insist on being barefoot.
Those wonderful people. They love what they do. They are passionate about it! They love the youth of your church. Kindly may I ask you; please remember.
They are human beings, not human doings. They’re not the general will-do-all-things-asked at the church.
What they do matters. Behind the games, the painted youth rooms, the mess, the camps and the noisy Friday nights – they’re building long-lasting relationships with the youth. Those relationships with the youth lead to a care and love that many desperately need. So very often (no matter how long it takes) – those youth will open their hearts to Jesus. And that’s what really matters, right?
Pause, and remember that time, you came to God. How your life changed. How God came and made all things new. That is what youth pastors do. It’s a task that cannot be formulated. But rather inspired and directed by the Holy Spirit.
So perhaps, next time your youth pastor walks by you:
Stop them and give them a hug. Or invite them to dinner. Take some time to hear their story. Let them share their victories and struggles with you.
And will you pray for them? Pray that they have the wisdom, discernment and strength directed by God’s Spirit.
Then when their day off comes, will you allow them to just be. That day of rest is so needed for them. As you know, building relationships can be tiring. Allow them to ‘Be still and know their Lord.’
One last comment. To those who were part of the decision to employ a youth pastor in your church. Thank you for seeing the need of the youth. For realising that the youth are not just the church of tomorrow, but the church of today too.
A church member, who once was a youth pastor
DEAR YOUTH PASTOR,
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
What you do matters.
Thank you for your patience, your care and the fun you create with the youth of this church. Thank you for building kingdom principles and life lessons into the lives of the teens of this church. Most of all, thank you for showing them the love of Jesus, over and over again.
I know you have a lot to do, but I need you to hear these three things:
You are not the Saviour, and that’s okay!
You don’t need to be at every event. There is a short word that you don’t use enough. And those mere two letters can actually help you in a great way. That word is NO. You are allowed to use it more often. You don’t have to say “yes” to every invitation and request of you.
Secondly, do yourself a godly favour and honour your day off. Switch your phone off, if that helps. Not all events and ministries at your church or in your community need you and your skills. Trust me, God will do stuff even if you aren’t there! Isn’t that relieving?
Lastly, practice good time management. Don’t run around like a headless chicken. Pause at that start of the week and plan your week as much as you can. Yes, there will be those unplanned visits and appointments – but mostly you can manage your time. Trust me; you will note the difference.
So like, thanks for reading this, and like please go and hang out with those teens now, and like, tell them there are more words than like!
Yours in Christ,
A guy who has been down the whole youth pastor road for over 15 years