Dear Youth Pastor: I Don’t Want Your Job

Youth Specialties
January 18th, 2016

Dear Youth Pastor,

I don’t want your job—I just want to do mine. Thought I’d throw that out there.

Don’t get me wrong—I know you have one of the best jobs in the church. You seem to have more fun than other staff members. I won’t tell them you told me.

I know some volunteers wish they could do what you do. They want to invest in this generation, and they feel called to vocational ministry. They want to learn as much about youth ministry as you’re willing to teach them. But that’s not me. I already have a job I love. I take youth ministry seriously, but it’s not my vocational call.

As a volunteer with a life and limited free time, one of my top needs is for my youth director to make it worth my while to show up. While it’s not what I want to do full time, I do want the few hours I spend doing youth ministry to be time well spent. Youth Pastor, this is for your sake and mine, but—even more—it’s for the students we both care about.

There are three ways you can keep me loyal to your team:

1. Train me.

Hold a training for all your volunteers at least once a quarter, if not monthly. I don’t care if you’re 20 years my junior—show me you want me to grow and that you believe I can. You can do something as simple as print out a great article from a youth ministry magazine or online resource. Highlight your favorite points. Hand out copies and tell us why it matters. Then tell us how to implement what we just talked about.

2. Thank me.

Now and then remind me that you notice my sacrifice of time, emotion, and energy. Don’t just thank me for being there—thank me for the praying and mentoring I do outside of our weekly meetings. Catch me being awesome, and tell me you notice. I’m not going to get tired of that.

3. Unleash me.

Give me permission and opportunities to minister within my capacity, personality, and talent. I won’t do things exactly like you do . . . and that should be okay. Release me to lead, teach, or plan as me rather than as a caricature of you.

Thanks, Pastor. Oh, and in case you’re wondering, not only do I not want your job, I don’t think I could do it better than you do. I appreciate you more than you know.


A grateful volunteer

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danette_headshotDanette Matty has been a volunteer youth worker since big hair was in the first time. In October 2010 she crash-landed on the staff of Christ’s Place church in Lincoln, Nebraska where she is Director of Christ’s Place Leadership College, a leadership development program for young adults. You can follow her on Twitter @danettematty.

Danette’s photo by Jeff Cloud Photography.

This post was originally published in the digital magazine from Wild Frontier & X3 Publications: YM Shorts. 

Youth Specialties

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the YS Blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of YS.