experience there have been three truths (in addition to the faithfulness of the Lord) that have sustained me in my 15 years of youth ministry. First, without a calling to youth ministry I would not be doing what I am doing. Second, I have found that the most effective youth ministry is relational ministry i.e. discipleship. Third, it is important to be involved in the body of Christ, not just as the youth guy/girl but as a normal member who needs the means of Grace. The life of a youth pastor is a calling. Youth ministry is not just for people who like to have fun and hangout with

The Life of a Youth Pastor T

By Seth Philbrick

he life a youth pastor is a hard thing to capture in an article like this. This is because no two youth pastors are the same, and every church they work in is different. However, in my

middle and high school students. It is for people who have been called to share the Gospel with students. Yes, you get to do a lot of fun things in youth ministry, but that is just a perk of the job. Youth mInistry can also be really hard and lonely at times and without a calling from the Lord, I would be doing something else. But, the Lord has sustained his calling on my life, and in his faithfulness he has brought me through both the good, and hard times all for the sake of his glory. When it comes to ministry itself and the “how to” of youth ministry it has been my experience that the most effective

type of ministry is relational ministry or discipleship. What I mean by that is, youth ministry and the life of a youth pas- tor is about building Christ centered relationships with students. The purpose of these relationships is to be able to speak Gospel truths to your students and applying them to their lives. This doesn’t just happen at youth group. Relational ministry takes place at church, on trips, at lunch, at school, or during the good and hard times of a student’s life. Being present in your students lives means relational ministry does not just stop with your students, effective youth ministry must involve ministry to their parents as well. Being a friend and mentor to your students, and (whenever it is possible) a support and resource for their parents are two sides of the same coin. The last truth that has been consistent throughout my life as a youth pastor is that having a life within the Body of

Christ apart from youth ministry is essential. Youth ministry, just like any other ministry is hard and exhausting, there- fore, your involvement within the body of Christ beyond your role of youth pastor is crucial. It is really easy to pretend like you have everything together, but if you are not being cared for by the church it is also really easy to get burned out. Involving yourself in other ministries of your church is a matter of self care and sanity. The life of a youth pastor is a lot of things and can look very different, but essential to that life is a calling, a relational

view of ministry, and a strong personal connection to the body of Christ. Over the past 15 years it has been these three things along with the unending faithfulness of the Lord that have sustained me in youth ministry. I am confident that if you talked to others in youth ministry, these three truths would be common in the lives of almost everyone you talk to.

My 5 tips for youth ministry…

• Remember it is all about Jesus…your students don’t need you, they need Jesus.

• Start taking seminary classes as soon as possible. Just do it.

• Make friends with people in your church who are not in middle or high school.

• Play to your strengths. Do what you are good at and let others do what they are good at. (I am still not good at this.)

• Bring your students to Horizon and Quest if you don’t already.?

Seth Philbrick is the Director of Youth and Family Minis- tries at the Church of the Atonement in Silver Spring, MD.

Helping Christians Grow 10 The Associate Reformed Presbyterian

Christian Education Ministries

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