After all, there’s A LOT of characteristics that a youth pastor should have. At first I thought it was being a good team leader. A good youth pastor MUST know how to raise up a team and lead them well. Inspire them, give them vision and the longing to see more for these students! That’s a big deal for a youth pastor, and if he’s not a great leader of a team, he can only go so far.
But then I thought about mentoring students and how that has to be the most important role in the life of a youth pastor. To show them how to be godly, how to study the Bible, how to simply live life. What more important characteristic of a youth pastor could there be?
Then my mind wandered to being relational – not just being that distant leader, but really getting into their world and talking face-to-face. Going to their schools, attending their games, having them over to your house. There’s no way to influence students when they DON’T know if you really care for them or not!
Maybe its being an organized person. How can you plan, lead, know where we’re going without being organized in the process? If you want volunteers, students, and parents to follow your guidance, you better line it up well. Possessing the ability to cast vision WAY OUT because you actually know where we’re going.
At this point, I started arguing with myself – what about how to share the Word of God with them…it has to be preaching/teaching right? To be a great communicator of the Word so that young people understand it and want to obey it. There is no better Bible College answer; that has to be it!
I think all of these things are extremely important in youth ministry…but I don’t think any of them are the most important characteristic or gift to possess.
I think the most important characteristic a youth pastor can possess is to be willing and able to listen to the voice of God and obey Him.
Think about it – if you preach without the Holy Spirit’s guidance, you’re treating it like a history book. If you’re organized with things that aren’t making an eternal impact, then who cares? If you’re a great leader, but haven’t heard from the Lord where your ministry should go, then it will never be as God wanted it. You can be as relational and caring as you want, but if you can’t hear the voice of God as to when to speak, when to step in, when to hush in situations with students, then you’ve lost your impact. And you can mentor your heart out, but if you don’t show them how to HEAR the voice of God, then you’re majorly lacking.
Successful youth ministries have 1,000 different models, styles, philosophies, and DNA – but what MUST be in any successful youth ministry is that it’s led by a youth pastor or a team of volunteers that are not satisfied with any direction, strategy, or vision unless its clear that its from the Lord. People that are connected to the vine and draw from it. A leader who has the confidence and assurance that what they are doing MATTERS because he has heard from the God of Heaven.
This is not glitzy and its not a trend. You can’t fake it. You’ve got to long to HEAR His voice, to listen, and to obey day after day after day after day.
So be the best leader, mentor, preacher you can be. Be organized and relational to reach into the hearts of families. But make sure it ALL falls under the umbrella of, “Speak Lord, your servant is listening.” (1 Samuel 3) Set out to hear His voice today…and obey.