I Timothy 3:1 “This is a true saying, if a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.”
Nowhere in the Bible do you find the term “Youth Pastor”. We know the New Testament Baptist church has only two offices, “Pastor” (a.k.a. Bishop and/or Elder) and “Deacon”. When we use the term Youth Pastor, what we are saying is we have a man who will pastor/shepherd the young people in our church. This gives the Senior Pastor the opportunity to focus on the adult population of the church. It also gives the Youth Pastor an opportunity to grow in his leadership all under the direction of the Senior Pastor. Often times a Youth Pastor or an Assistant Pastor thinks that this position is a “steppingstone” to the pastorate. While it may be true that God has something more in store for your life, we should never view it as an opportunity for something bigger. He may very well be using this stage in your life for development. Lives are at stake and the future of young people hang in the balance of these formidable years. Research shows that “the rational part of a teen’s brain isn’t fully developed and won’t be until age 25 or so” (Understanding The Teen Brain by Anne Fetterman RN BSN; Joseph Campellone MD; Raymond Kent Turley BSN; MSN; RN www.urmc.rochester.edu). That definitely explains a lot! When we work with young people we need to see this opportunity the way God sees it. A chance to impact someone in their youth that could set the course of their whole life as well as eternity. What exactly does a Youth Pastor need to do in order to be a good one? Well let’s start with the qualifications of the Pastor because that’s exactly what he is.
First there needs to be a DESIRE (I Timothy 3:1). This is not a desire that Satan gives him, or that his flesh conjures up or that is given to him by the world. This is simply a God given desire that a man has to want to serve the LORD in the ministry. By the way, Scripture says if a man has this desire, he “desireth a good work”. It’s a great thing if a man desires to serve the LORD as a Pastor.
Second, he must be BLAMELESS (I Timothy 3:2). It’s a bad testimony for Christ if the Pastor or a Pastor in training doesn’t have a good testimony. Nobody is perfect, and we know we are sinners saved by grace. However, a Pastor must work towards having a good name and testimony for the LORD at all times.
Third, he must be the HUSBAND OF ONE WIFE (I Timothy 3:2). I think this is pretty obvious. It is imperative that the Pastor have a great marriage. How can someone lead people much less young people if he doesn’t have a great relationship with his own wife. It’s difficult for one to counsel someone on relationships when their own relationship has ended tragically in divorce. Divorce isn’t the unpardonable sin, however for a man to be a Pastor he must have one wife. Men make sure you focus on your marriage.
While there are many more areas covered in the criteria of a Pastor, I want to pivot to this next point for sake of time and space. The Pastor needs to know how to RULETH WELL HIS OWN HOUSE (I Timothy 3:4-5). Of all the criteria I believe this is one of the most important. I put this together with “husband of one wife”. We must never forget that if we lose our home, we have no ministry. Our number one ministry is not someone else’s marriage but our own marriage. Our number one ministry is not someone else’s children but our own children. How sad it would be to attempt to save America but lose our own family. That’s putting the “cart before the horse”. The Pastor’s number one ministry is his own family. If he can have a great home, he can help others have a great home. If he can have a great relationship with his kids, then they will help him in the ministry. Too often there is a false narrative that says, “you can’t have a great home and a great church…it’s one or the other.” I have often said this in the pulpit and to my family directly. If I had to choose between focusing on my home or my church, I would always choose my home. With that said, you don’t have to choose. I have seen many who have chosen “both” and succeeded at “both”. In fact, some of the greatest memories my wife and I have is of our family serving the LORD at church together with our kids. Youth Pastor, as you serve Christ today you are a Pastor of young people. Whatever you do, make sure you focus on being the best Pastor you can be, and God will use you to help others serve Christ.
Pastor Jeff Harris
Anchor Baptist Church | Hilton, NY