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Youth pastors as hired guns

Youth pastors approaching 50 often run right into a brick wall. The really tragic thing is when a guy like Mike pours himself into his youth ministry for years and years and then is rewarded with a pink slip. Mike is one of the best youth pastors I know. He has given the b…
By Seth Barnes

Youth pastors approaching 50 often run right into a brick
wall. The really tragic thing is when a
guy like Mike pours himself into his youth ministry for years and years and
then is rewarded with a pink slip.

covering eyesMike is one of the best youth pastors I know. He has given the best years of his life to
his church. If ever there was a guy who
deserved to be celebrated for his long-term commitment to a relatively
thankless job, it was Mike.

When I saw what happened to Mike, I figured it was just bad
luck. But then I saw this same ugly
phenomenon happening in the last few months to three other guys. All of them had committed their lives to
discipling young people. They were
succeeding in the one criteria of success that means anything: Young people graduated to adulthood making
Jesus lord of their lives.

The common denominator for these four guys is that at the
end of the day, no matter how they poured their lives out for their ministry,
they were still treated as hired guns by their boss, the senior pastor.

Senior pastors will usually leave well enough alone. But let some student complain to his father,
who happens to be an elder in the church, and the senior pastor has to do
something.

If the complaints against the youth pastor continue or are
joined by the complaints of others, then that youth pastor has a real
problem. The nature of his hired gun
status is exposed. If the senior pastor
is relatively spineless and the elder board relatively clueless, then this
youth pastor nightmare can become a reality.

What’s broken here?
Is it just the system? Steve is
one of these youth pastors who, at the peak of their careers, had a political
train wreck and was asked to leave his church.
I don’t know a more gracious guy than Steve, but he had to restrain
himself from telling the whole lot of them to take a flying leap.

You hate to leave a place with sheep bites on
your rear.*

*Maybe that’s what Jesus was
talking about when he said “turn the other cheek.”

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