Hiring a Youth Minister

Because I know most churches struggle in the area of hiring a youth minister or equipping one they already have, I’ve been doing quite a bit of research and reading on the subject of when and how to hire a youth minister. It should come to no surprise that the process should be done with great thought, prayer, and organization.

Few things surprised me in this research.

  • It should take months to find the right candidate (versus the best of the worst) and hire them.
  • Spreading the word to the most people, through the greatest amount of sources, will lead to the most qualified candidates. Cast a wide net.
  • Have a job description ready to go so that the candidates know what to expect of the potential job.
  • Ask lots of questions, do lots of research, and really get to know candidates through conventional and unconventional means.
  • Offer a competitive salary. (This survey is from 2007, but is a helpful jumping off point.)
  • Have support and structure in place to help the new person begin on a firm foundation.
One thing I read surprised me incredibly. According to Before You Hire a Youth Pastor: A Step-By-Step Guide to Finding the Right Fit by Mark Devries and Jeff Dunn-Rankin, a church should have a vision for their youth ministry already in place. While this makes a lot of sense, I don’t think it often happens.
Conventional wisdom suggests that the Search Team must wait for its new youth pastor’s arrival before worrying about the vision for the youth ministry. This assumption is built on the very unsustainable idea that it is somehow the new youth worker’s job to tell the church what ITS vision for youth ministry should be. (Devries and Dunn-Rankin, 35)
Very few youth ministries have a vision at all, let alone one that would stand the test of the youth leader leaving. However, having a vision in place that helps guide the youth ministry and gives a goal of where we want to be going. If the future of your youth ministry resides on the vision of one person, it’s bound to fail. While the person you hire should definitely have license to continue the visioning and create a mission for the program, the church should already be very clear in what their goals are for the youth ministry.
This is excellent advice for all of us, youth ministers, pastors, church leaders, and volunteers, whether we are in the market for a new youth minister or not. Having a good vision in place will help a youth ministry create attainable goals. A strong vision is crucial in being a vital and successful youth ministry.
Before You Hire a Youth Pastor is an excellent resource to utilize when beginning the search for a new youth minister. In addition, this blog post from Doug Franklin offers some excellent and insightful questions to be asked of candidates. This Open Letter to Youth Ministry Search Teams is also incredibly helpful and provides an interesting perspective.
How many of you have a vision for your youth ministry? How did your church establish this vision? Share with us your experience!

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  1. Pingback: The Hiring Process | Central Texas Conference UMC Youth & Young Adult Ministry

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