Staff Relations

I’ve been hearing alot of stories recently about poor relations between staff members at churches….especially between senior pastors and youth pastors.  This seems to be a common problem.  Many senior pastors are on a power trip and intimidated by the usually younger, gifted youth pastor.  On the other hand many youth pastors are lacking the proper respect for authority, and very critical of the church in general.  I know, I was a youth pastor for 10 years and frankly I didn’t have much luck in connecting with either senior pastor I worked with.  Some of that was their fault, some of it was mine.  I thought I read that the average tenure for a youth pastor is less than 2 years, so something’s wrong in many churches.  I wrote an article after leaving my second youth pastor position.  It’s never been published but I think it could help many senior and youth pastors out.  I’ll not post the whole article (you can e-mail me for that), but here are the main points.

Advice for Senior Pastors;

  • Make sure that your vision matches up.  If you both have different ideas about where the church should be headed, about how to do ministry or just the church in general….it won’t work.
  • Understand that your youth pastor has a calling also and deserves the same respect as you do.  Your youth pastor (no matter what you may think about him personally) should never be make to feel as if he isn’t a “real” minister.  I hated being called “Mr. Mark or The Big Kid”
  • Direct complaints about the youth pastor or his ministry back to him.  Matthew 18 works in small churches and big churches.  Gossip is gossip.  If your staff member can’t resolve the situation then he can involve you later.  This actually saves you work.
  • Give your youth pastor a detailed job description up front.  He needs expectations right off the bat.  I’ll never forget being told,” We hired you to take care of our kids, not bring in all these others”. That’s a direct quote!

It takes two to tango, so here’s advice to youth pastors;

  • Communicate out the Wazoo!  Don’t let your senior pastor be the last to know what’s going on.  Some don’t care, or don’t bother to read your reports, but that’s not an excuse for you lacking on your end.
  • Respect your pastor enough to talk man to man.  Don’t be afraid to approach him about anything.  If you don’t bitterness and resentment will well up inside you.
  • Never say anything negative about your senior pastor to anyone. It’s just plain sin, and it will come back to bite you for sure.
  • Behave in such a way as to destroy all youth stereotypes. 

            Here are some common “youth pastor” stereotypes;

  • You want to be a “real” pastor someday and you’re in training
  • You have 2 million fun games at your disposal.
  • You aren’t as qualified to teach the Bible as a senior pastor
  • You are highly unorganized
  • You are great at sports and play the guitar
  • If you are spending time with teens, you’re just playing with kids all day.
  • You are a big kid and immature
  • You are too young to be a pastor.

Here are some tips to help dispell some of these.

  • Don’t be late to work
  • If you must be late, have a good reason and call ahead
  • Have regular office hours
  • If you’ll be out let the office know why, where and when you’ll be back
  • Plan ahead
  • Plan ahead
  • Plan ahead
  • Don’t wear cut-off’s and a Dr. Pepper t-shirt to work everyday.
  • Be professional

Hopefully this was helpful to someone!


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