One of the things I have noticed over the past few years in the kids ministry community, is kids and youth pastors seem to move around a lot. I always found this to be quite curious. I moved around many times as a kid. So I always chalked up my awareness of how often kids and youth pastors move because of my personal experience growing up. Last year I went to Australia and I found that they don’t have the same ministry culture there. To be fair there are some pioneers in kids ministry in Australia but the whole of kids ministry in Australia is largely done by volunteers and part-time kids and youth pastors who were raised in the church they are serving.
I think the problem in the American church is not a problem of relevance at all. I think many kids and youth pastors leave their churches prematurely. The reason is they misinterpret their feelings of frustration. I remember feeling antsy around 4 years in and I also remember God say you haven’t finished what I have for you to do. So I stayed. 10 years in I had accomplished all I knew that I was to do. I started to ask God if I was done or just in the wrong place. I felt that he was saying neither. I was confused. I then felt in my heart that God was calling me to spend the rest of my time releasing and training others to do what I do.
I think Lead Pastors and Kids pastors get it wrong at exactly the same time.
Lead Pastors feel their kids and youth pastors are no longer relevant. Kids and youth pastors feel they are in a rut and they have done all they can do where they are. While both of the statements may be true. I think we fail to ask the question no one is asking. The problem in my mind is primarily a discipleship one. We have kids pastors leaving or being fired because they are in a rut or because they have become irrelevant, but the answer isn’t always leaving. I think the answer is discipleship. At the point where you need to pour into younger leaders and you don’t you become irrelevant. In failing to train and release people to do what you do you doom your church to cycle of looking for the next big name with the next big idea.
Lead pastors push your kids and youth pastors to disciple kids to take their place. Young leaders need fathers older leaders need to step back and love protect and foster an atmosphere where failure is ok because it takes place in the context of stability.
Kids and youth pastors don’t follow your first instinct to run. Stay, push through. Once you start running it’s hard to stop. It was for me.