How to Find a Great Youth Pastor Job - Dare 2 Share
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students to reach their world.
Helping youth leaders empower
students to reach their world.

How to Find a Great Youth Pastor Job

Advice for someone on the hunt for a new youth ministry position.

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Youth pastors these days are on the move—literally.

The average time for a youth pastor to be in their role is from 9 to 18 months, depending on which study you consult. Given this fact, it’s likely at some point you’ll find yourself looking for a new youth pastor job. We asked four of our Dare 2 Share staff who have previously been youth pastors to each contribute a piece of advice they would give to someone on the hunt for a new youth ministry position.

1. Always ask the church’s view of the Gospel.

Too often I have youth pastors telling me they don’t agree with their church on the Gospel, but they never thought to ask during the hiring process. Even if the church is within a familiar denomination, I still recommend checking. Sometimes the leadership’s definition of the Gospel is pretty different from ours, and it can lead to many challenges down the road. –Ben Phillips, Dare 2 Share Director of Mobilization

2. Make sure they want to reach the unsaved kids in the community with the Gospel.

Many churches are simply looking for a well-prepared teen-sitter or party-planner. They may frame it as wanting someone to “disciple their students,” when what they really mean is that they want someone to serve and entertain the children of the members, not challenge existing believers or reach nonbelievers. Look for a church that has a well-balanced view of evangelism and discipleship, understanding that the best way to get a student to grow as a disciple is to get them to go as an evangelist. –Gustavo González, Dare 2 Share Spanish Ministry Specialist

3. Inquire about the history of the church, the staff, and the youth ministry.

Be sure you know the church’s denomination, growth trends, values, and mission. Specifically ask about staff-turnover rate, and delve into the reasons for that. My first youth ministry job was at a church that had previously had about nine youth pastors within the span of three years. Learning this in the interview helped me understand better what I was walking into—with students, parents, and staff—and helped me think through a different approach. Additionally, being aware of this history allowed me to communicate and get approval for my plan and expectations before committing to the job. –Carrie Evans, Dare 2 Share Content Coordinator

4. Agree on job expectations during the hiring process.

Working for a church is very different from a traditional 9–5 job, and understanding the “rules” of the game before being hired will help both parties function in a healthier way.

Clarity on mutual expectations will give you the relational ground to stand on when things look different from what you expected. Obviously, things can change over time, but those changing expectations should always be met with a conversation or healthy confrontation regarding the things that were agreed upon at the time of hire. Avoiding ambiguity is especially important in church ministry, where lines are easily blurred between personal life and work. –Tony Kohler, Dare 2 Share International Ministry Specialist

Some questions to ask regarding expectations:

  • What type of authority structure does the church operate with? 
  • What is the role of the elders in your church? 
  • What are the church’s denominational ties, and what influence do they have on your church’s decision-making? 
  • Who is the senior pastor accountable to? 
  • Who am I accountable to? 
  • In my decision-making, what do I need to get approval on and what am I free to run with? 
  • Is there a predetermined road map for the ministry I’m applying for? 
  • Can I use curriculum of my choice?
  • Do you have a growth benchmark for the ministry? 
  • What are the expected office hours?
  • What are the expectations of me outside of normal hours? (This is especially important if you have a spouse and/or children.)
  • What expectations are there about being active in other areas of the church? (Are you expected to just function in your area of ministry, or are there other areas you will have a hand in?)
  • What’s the vacation policy?

What’s one thing you would recommend looking for when applying to a new youth pastor position? Go to our Gospel Advancing Ministry Facebook group to ask questions and join the conversation!

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