Thinking Out Loud

July 16, 2019

Another Youth Pastor Story of Shame

Filed under: Christianity — Tags: , , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 7:15 am

The link isn’t important. There is one of these stories all too frequently. A youth pastor. An underage teen. You know the ones.

Is it time to re-think the role of Youth Pastor? It wouldn’t stop everything that’s happening in some churches from happening, but it also wouldn’t stop the church from having a decent youth program anyway with an associate pastor and some lay-leaders and not some fresh-faced Bible college graduate whose ability to measure the consequences of actions still hasn’t caught up to his academic youth ministry credentials.

Look at it this way, if current Youth Ministry training includes some lectures on appropriate boundaries, then it’s not always working. A more seasoned ministry staff member would be better equipped to avoid temptation and understand what’s entailed in crossing the line.

The kids in the group would also benefit from inter-generational ministry.

The guy in charge of youth at my church was a semi-retired insurance salesman. On staff half-time. Really connected with teens. Today it would be called a megachurch. It was a great, diverse youth program. There were music nights. Sports nights. Pizza nights. Serious Bible study nights.

It works. And it avoids putting young men (usually) and women (sometimes) into situations they all apparently can’t handle.


  1. A youth ministry completely changed the course of my family’s life, leading to a divorce, a marriage way too soon, children, more divorce and destruction, mainly due to the immaturity of leadership, as well as the lack of understanding of the consequences and importance of parents not resting in the relief and false security that the hard stuff of raising your children who are on the threshold of adulthood not finding their relief and release of carrying the total load of rearing their offspring in these final stages of childhood so easily. Just because it’s called ministry doesn’t mean it’s what’s good and nurturing to your children. It can, in fact, lead to horrendous consequences that your family may never recover and totally heal from. Voice of experience here.

    Comment by Teresa Dalton — July 18, 2019 @ 5:28 am

  2. I can’t help but think you’re overreacting to the wrong-doing (and the subsequent reporting) of a small group of people. How many awesome young people are serving in “youth pastor” roles and never do something even close to wrong like these stories? I don’t have hard data to back it up, but I’ve worked with enough young pastors to know that not every young pastor is a predator and that the majority of them are serving honourably.

    I don’t dispute that inter-generational diversity is a great thing, but the idea that a single 20 something male is doomed to prey on underage youth and can’t be a great leader influence is too one sided for my liking. Most of them CAN handle the role and organization need to make sure they are doing what they can to hire well, and have great safety policies in place.

    I also look around at a whole group of my peers that 20+ years ago were the “fresh faced bible college graduate(s)” and most of us cut our ministry teeth in youth ministry and now are the 40-something leaders of organizations. It’s not the only way to get there, but lets not miss the that a lot of people have filled the youth pastor role and not done damage.

    Comment by Tim Good (@Tim_Good) — July 18, 2019 @ 2:10 pm

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