five questions to ask when hiring a youth pastor

Itís that time of year, and many churches are looking for a new youth leader. Someone in their late 20s, married with two kids, and eight plus years of experience in a larger churchÖ you know, the dream candidate. I love it when churches call me and ask if I know anyone who fits this description. I tell the church that this person does not exist, and if they did their church is paying them well and wonít let them go. OK, so how do you find the right person to work with your students? Believe it or not, asking the right questions from the start can make all the difference. Many churches miss this opportunity by getting swept away in the fact that their students really like a candidate. But the likeability factor can be a formula for disaster. Likeability has nothing to do with a youth pastorís ability to help students grow in their relationship with Christ. So to avoid this temptation, and make sure ask the right questions. Here are five vital questions to ask when hiring a youth pastor.
  1. What is your process to develop a studentís spiritual life? Remember, you are not looking for an activities director. You are looking for someone who has insight into how to connect a studentís heart to Godís. How is this person going to use evangelism, discipleship and mentoring, not just as activities, but as tools that develop your students? Warning: Youíre not looking for a long-winded answer. Youíre looking for spiritual maturity. Every studentís spiritual needs are different. Does this person have the wisdom and sensitivity to lead your students in spiritual growth?
  2. How are you going to develop your adult volunteers? Adult volunteers who disciple students are the backbone of every great youth ministry. Youth leaders need to know how to recruit and train their volunteer staff in order to grow the ministry. What is your candidateís track record in working with volunteer staff? How willing is he or she able to empower a volunteer? Warning: Some youth leaders like to be the center of attention and are unable to give away control to their volunteer staff. This will only stifle the long-term growth and depth of your youth ministry. You are looking for someone who can empower a volunteer staff to mentor others, by transferring their own skills and abilities to each volunteer.
  3. How are you growing as a leader? This question may seem simple, but the effectiveness of your youth ministry is based on the leadership level of your youth leader. If the youth leader is growing in his or her own leadership abilities, the youth ministry will most likely be growing as well. A youth ministry will naturally take on the personality of their example. A teachable youth leader is magnetic around students. Their humility is seen as authentic, and the students will begin to take on the same humble traits. Warning: Do not hire a know-it-all. Your youth ministry is limited by your youth leaderís ability to grow. As a leader, he or she needs to be able to set goals, cast vision, recruit adults, inspire students, etc. Remember, you cannot give what you do not have.
  4. Where are you at with Jesus? Spiritual maturity is a key to leading a healthy youth ministry. When the head of the ministry has a dynamic, growing spiritual life the organization will reflect it. Do all youth leaders always experience dynamic spiritual growth? No, but they have discernment to know when the dryness is lack of desire or spiritual challenge. Warning: Listen carefully to the answer, and ask follow-up questions. Donít assume that just because they are a youth ministry candidate that they are a good spiritual fit for your church. Ask lots of questions related to this topic.
  5. What is your plan to develop leaders in the ministry? Healthy youth ministries develop leaders at multiple levels. What is this candidateís plan to develop student leaders, college interns, and adult leaders in the ministry? Listen carefully, not for a three step plan, but for any indication that this is even on their radar. Anyone can talk about leadership, but the answer to this question will tell you how important it is to your candidate. Warning: It takes a very mature candidate to think at this level. Donít be discouraged if your candidate is not there yet. The real question you want answered is, do they have humility to get there someday?
There isnít a right answer to any of these questions. But the answers to these five questions will tell you a lot about your candidateís understanding of youth ministry and their potential to lead your students. Warning: Donít compromise. There are a lot of people out there who just want to hang out with students. Make sure you take the time to find someone who will be transformational in your studentís lives.

Doug Franklin is the founder and president of LeaderTreks. LeaderTreks is a student leadership development ministry that partners with youth ministries across the nation to equip them to develop students as leaders. Article used with permission of ...

Simply Youth Ministry is here to equip, connect, and recharge youth workers with the tools, relationships,
and confidence they need to help teenagers develop a committed relationship with Jesus Christ.

Facebook Twitter Youtube Instagram Pinterest Group