Youth Pastors as Second Class Citizens

As I walked the Exhibition floor of the National Outreach Convention, I browsed the exhibits. One exhibitor, who sold services to ‘pastors’ said, “Oh, this is really more for pastors.” I replied, “I am a pastor.” She responded, “Oh, a youth pastor. Well maybe someday you will be a senior pastor.” Maybe because I was a little scruffy, wearing my ‘Friends Gnome Matter What’ t-shirt (with a great gnome illustration) or something I wasn’t good enough to buy their product? Anyway, this happened twice within a period of ten minutes.

Are Youth Pastors Second Class Citizens in the ministry?

  • Robb Stankey

    November 4, 2005, 6:20 pm

    I wasn’t too impressed by the descriptions of the seminars when you posted them. To me it seemed more focused on building a successful program and less the Kingdom of God. What did you think?

    The attitude of these vendors make me feel even more uneasy about the whole thing too.

    Anyways, did you get a chance to go for a stroll through Central Park?

  • Noel

    November 4, 2005, 9:27 pm

    I have had the same kind of thing happen several times. First, people assume because of a few facial piercings and the style I have that I can’t possibly be a pastor.

    Then, because we have a team of pastors instead of a senior pastor, a lot of people seem to rank that as second class, as well. People don’t know what to do with that. I had another pastor in a prayer meeting pray that our church would “find a senior pastor.” It was kinda surreal.

  • Tim

    November 4, 2005, 9:41 pm

    On of my biggest pet peves is when people view youth ministry as a stepping stone to become a Sr. Pastor, as if we need to practice on “little people” before we can graduate to the “big people.” What the heck! Students are REAL PEOPLE too!!…. okay, I’ll stop writing before I get myself worked up. You get the point. 😉

  • archshrk

    November 5, 2005, 3:38 pm

    wow – Not being a “Pastor” (other than of my home) I never even considered this an issue. But I look back on my own experiences and realise that in most churches, Youth Pastor is really Pastor-in-Training. The sad thing is how much more difficult (than I imagined) it is to preach to youth. The worst part is not that they see youth pasters as lesser pastor or that they don’t see Christ as their Senior Pastor but that they don’t value the youth as much as the adults.

  • Alan

    November 6, 2005, 2:30 pm

    I’ve always thought that the churches do this the wrong way around. Instead of having the ‘senior’ pastor spend most of his/her enrgies on people whose lives are largely formed (for good or ill) why not have the most experienced Christians give their time and love to the young — those who have their whole lives yet ahead of them.

    No, youth ministry should not be viewed as an apprenticeship on the way to something ‘better.’