Youth Ministers: Working With Your Pastor

Authored by Bob Rice in Issue #32.2 of The Sower

Like any relationship, communication is the most essential thing. And there is no more important relationship in youth ministry than that of the youth minister and his or her pastor. But good communication is based on understanding each other. And before we can make a relationship better, we have to understand what kind of relationship it is. Just as marriage is my vocation, doing ministry in the pastor’s vocation. So I help him, and I keep in my heart that I’m am serving his ministry, not leading my own.

This attitude is essential to have if you are going to effectively work with your pastor in youth ministry. It’s important to remember that, though you and your pastor might have a friendship, when it comes to ministry you are never peers. Yes, you should share with him what that is going on in the ministry. But he won’t reciprocate by sharing everything that is going in the parish. He can’t; much of it is confidential. You report to him, not the other way around.

As a youth minister, it is your job to be obsessed about teens. But pastors have to deal with a much larger world than you do. From the serious to the mundane, people bring problems to your pastor with the anxiety that the world will end tomorrow if the issue wasn’t resolved yesterday.

Being pastor is a tough, tough job. You are only part of the puzzle of bringing salvation to his flock. An important part, but a part nonetheless. Consider it your job to make your pastor’s life easier. He hired you to reach out to youth, to build the relationships that he can’t, to understand the culture that he is confused by. Your job is to help him minister effectively to youth, to live out the commitment he made when he was ordained a priest.

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