My wife likes Westerns. I enjoy westerns, but not as much as her. A few weeks ago we watched Support your local Gunfighter on Netflix, thus the name of this post. Other than the title this has nothing to do with that movie. Though it would be awesome if my pastor was also a gunfighter.
So what’s the point of this post? Well, let’s be honest, Pastors and Youth Ministers have historically had poor working relationships which more often than not end poorly. I’ve seen this more than once, I’ve been in this situation once, and it should not be. I wanted to punch a pastor in our association when I first got here, because he made some snide remark about youth ministers being irresponsible, lazy, etc. It’s not the first time we’ve heard these things from people but it does hurt my feelings. A lot of Senior pastors (aka old guys) have similar stereotypical views of youth ministers (aka young guys). Youth Ministers, however, aren’t any different. How many times have a group of youth ministers sat around and complained about our pastors being old fashioned, stuck in their ways, don’t care about youth, etc?
Well I would like to change that, and where better to start than with myself?
First, the Bible (that book that we tell our youth to read) is clear that authority is to be respected and honored. Plain and simple my pastor is my boss, period. There are no if, ands, or buts. Yes, yes he may not be able to fire you according to the church by-laws, blah, blah, blah. But he’s still your boss. For those of you that have only ever worked in a church and spent 10years in seminary, and never had a “real” job, I’ll explain: (this is from the Google) Boss – noun – a person in charge of a worker or organization. You see in the real world you wake up and have to clock in (a system of control within the Matrix) at a certain time (saying God was really moving me in my quiet time this morning is not an excuse). Then this guy come and tells you “go do A” you don’t like “A”, “A” is not fun. “A” is sitting at your computer for 8hrs helping people reprogram their remotes for their new TVs on Christmas Day (I worked for Sata…Dish Network). So here’s the weird thing. If I didn’t do “A” I could go home, or do what the “Spirit” was leading me do to! But I also would no longer get a paycheck from this organization. Such is the nature of a “Boss” your pastor like it or not is one of these.
Second, your job is to lead the youth ministry. It’s not his job, it’s yours, if he thinks it’s part of his job then you will most likely be micro-managed. Most pastors work harder than you do, youth ministry heresy, I know. So your pastor should not need to be at your youth advents, or help with everything. He has enough on his plate, grow a pair and do your job, which will sometimes include “A”. Yes, he should support you in your job, so earn his support.
Third, If you don’t know this then…well you’ll soon learn, ministry is hard. Ministry is a sea of discouragement, and disappointment, interspersed with the joy of someone accepting Jesus Christ, that reminds you that it is worth it. Your pastor goes through the same thing. He is human, he gets discouraged, he gets burned out. If you’re new in a church position, like me, you often see things that can be improved upon and want to change certain things immediately. So you’re excited and go to your new pastor and say we should do “this, this, and this, and my last church did this!” And you get shot down like a clay at the NSSA World Cup. Well look at it from his perspective. Some young guy you barely know, walks into your office and tells you: “You’re doing all these things wrong.” Wont you just love this guy? So why not instead sit down with him and ask questions of somebody with 40years of ministry experience to your 4? Ask what he would like to see changed, ask him about his goals for the year, and (shocking) ask how you can help. Maybe your pastor has been in this church for years and never had the support to do the thinks he had in his heart, so support him.
Finally, and this ties everything together. Strive to be a blessing to your pastor. Do your job with integrity so that he doesn’t have to look over your shoulder. If he asks you do take on a special assignment, don’t say “that’s not in my job description” (this is not me saying you should never say no, but sometimes you should help the maintenance guy fix a door). Just today I had an hour long talk with my pastor about 2013, and I asked him what I could take off his plate in this year (pats self on back). What would your pastor say if you asked how YOU could HELP HIM? Hey it might just give him that heart attack you’ve been praying for.
So SUPPORT your pastor. Help him. Be a Blessing. So that we can do away with these harmful stereotypes that interfere with the work of the Church.