Tuesday, October 25, 2011

I Blame the Youth Pastor

Have you ever heard the phrase “it’s not my fault” before? Chances are if you are a parent or had siblings growing up then you heard it and used it. I recall seeing a billboard a few years ago that had that very saying on it followed by “it’s the American way.” This got me thinking for some time now that this line gets used a lot in the church world as well.

Before I became the lead pastor of a church I was a youth pastor for 9 years. It is true that I do youth ministry once again along with pastoring a church and I must admit it is kind of fun. In talking to other youth pastors and having this happen to myself on occasion it is funny how some kids grow up in church and because they either didn’t care or simply were brats in their kid/teen days they blame the youth pastor on their lack of spiritual maturity. This happens with some adults as well with their pastor.

Now, I have always been of the mindset that a youth pastor should not be teaching anything that isn’t already being taught in the home. There are exceptions to this rule. Especially if the home the teen comes from a home that simply has no biblical foundation. However most of the times when I have heard this blame game being used…it is usually from a person that grew up in a nice middle class home and was simply a brat during their younger days. Now perhaps this person/persons had a wake up call and suddenly became a stronger Christian. It seems odd that they would immediately point to their youth pastor as the reason for the lack of their spiritual maturity in those days. A youth pastor should never take the place of a parent therefore if it is indeed needed to point the finger at someone it should be the parents because almost 9 times out of 10 attitude reflects leadership (which begins in the home).

In the church world I believe we place WAY to high of a priority on the youth pastor to raise our teens. This really needs to begin in the home less (like I stated above) the kid comes from a non-Christian home.

Even in the teenage years a kid has to take ownership for his/her own spiritual maturity. James 1:22-25(NIV) says “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.

Nowhere in this passage does it say “teens are exempt.” I have seen my fair share of teenagers that have gone onto awesome things. Some have become pastors, worship leaders, mechanics, etc.  Many of them knew who God was even in their teen years and therefore grew from it. Some have walked away from God or the church because they simply are not interested and what I find interesting is that they do not blame the youth pastor. Then there are those who were simply bratty, hard headed, and obnoxious who in their teen years never took their relationship with Christ seriously. No pastor or youth pastor could have swayed them because they were in a hard season of their life. It took the power of the Holy Spirit to change their lives and what do they do in return? Blame others for their lack of maturity then.

We have to be careful and own up to our past. There is no reason to blame it on someone else. Simply look back at where we came from and look to where we are going and OWN IT! 


  1. "it should be the parents because almost 9 times out of 10 attitude reflects leadership (which begins in the home)." interesting statement. Yet parents are taught in the world to leave the training to the education teachers. So maybe the church needs to re-educate the parents that it is ultimately their responsibility to be good stewards of what God has given them and not the pastors, and not the teachers. Rather, they should work together for the training of the youth. I think this is what is really meant by 'it takes a village'.

  2. My professor at seminary responded to me as I complained about being blamed as a youth pastor for the lack of "growth" in the students. He mentioned baptism as a way of thinking about why pastor and educators alike get blamed. In baptism, the child is given to the church and the church takes responsibility to raise the child. Thus parents do give their children to the church. Then we pastors do have some sort of responsibility. This input made me calm myself a bit.

    Frankly though, deep inside I struggle constantly. I hold my tongue almost every Sunday. I am fed up with students and parents who keeps telling me I am not doing what they expect. I am doing the best I can with what I am given. Next to nothing budget, and parents who never supports the youth as I suggest...thats why I came across this blog...

    I am leaning on prayer....

  3. Thanks for the comment YPPDAN. Youth pastoring and pastoring for that matter is one of the most thankless jobs out there. I am sure you are doing a fantastic job. I am praying for you bro.