3 Ways To Keep Your Youth Pastor Longer
By: Sarah Robins
It’s no surprise that the youth pastor position has one of the highest turnover rates on a church staff. The role is increasingly becoming harder to fill and it’s extremely rare to find a youth pastor who desires to stay in his or her position for life.
However, not all hope is not lost for your student ministry! These 3 ideas for church leaders will help them retain their quality youth pastors for the long haul.
1. Develop and invest.
Most pastors, no matter the age or background, desire to be developed and mentored. Though not all youth pastors are on the younger side of the age bracket, a strong majority are.
This is one of the best kept secrets of the Millennial generation. In a study from the Harvard Business Journal, the top criteria that millennials are looking for in a boss is someone that “will mentor and coach me” and “will give me straight feedback.” Taking the time to invest in your youth pastor will not only help keep your youth pastor engaged longer, it will also build enduring trust and loyalty.
If it is not feasible for you to personally spend this time with your youth pastor, there are many other practical ways to fulfill this need.
- Connect him/her with a more experienced staff member on your team
- Set aside 1 hour a month to spend with him/her
- Send a simple email with encouragement and feedback from time to time
2. Give the chance to earn a seat.
To be clear, we’re not suggesting you put all youth pastors on your leadership team. However, giving them an opportunity to earn a seat at that table and giving them that seat if they do, will create an environment of longevity among your younger pastors.
Being a youth pastor isn’t the only experience “stepping stone” to becoming a lead pastor anymore. Young pastors can become campus pastors, teaching pastors, or plant their own churches! It seems that the role doesn’t hold the same amount of opportunity it used to, but that doesn’t have to be the case.
If you don’t have the room on your leadership team to offer to someone new, there are still ways to hand responsibility over to staff members. Give your youth pastors an opportunity for leadership in other ways. Allow them the chance to earn more autonomy in their ministries. Give them a budget to manage. Let them hire assistants. Give them a chance to share their ideas with the Lead Team. Bottom line: give them the opportunity to grow and take on more responsibility.
3. Provide opportunities to teach.
This is one of the best ways to retain young youth pastors on your staff. Preaching/teaching is a learned skill, so most pastors want the chance to develop and improve their teaching abilities.
When one of our team’s consultants took his first job in ministry, he was given the opportunity to preach on the “main stage.” It made an incredible impact on him and his ministry. This was no small opportunity for him as a young pastor. The was a church ran 6,000 in size on the weekend and was broadcast locally in the area. While he wasn’t an expert at preaching just yet, he certainly got better through that experience. It allowed him to improve his communication and receive valuable feedback from the church’s teaching team.
Recruiting and retaining great staff is something our team here at Vanderbloemen thinks about constantly. Retaining great staff is a piece to the puzzle that’s worth investing in as a church. At the end of the day, young pastors want the opportunity to grow, improve, and lead. Give them the chance and you’ll grow your team for years to come!
How has your leadership team invested in your youth pastor roles?