Soul care is essential for reaching out to youth.
Youth pastors should focus on three things in terms of the way they use their time.
1. Grow Their Faith.
First, they should be spending their time furthering their relationship with Christ. One of the most important things for a youth pastor is that they are walking with the Lord and have a deep sense of intimacy with Christ.
When my boss—one of the best bosses I’ve ever had—and I would get together for meetings, the first question he would always ask was, “How is your relationship with Christ; how is your spiritual life?”
When people want to build a youth ministry, there can be a temptation not to be intentional about building boundaries and building time for them to be in God’s Word, to spend time with the Lord, to be in prayer, and to nurture their own spiritual life.
This comprehensive handbook looks at every facet of youth ministry from a gospel-centered perspective, offering practical advice related to everything from planning short-term mission trips to interacting with parents to cultivating healthy relationships.
2. Build Relationships.
Building relationships with kids should be something that youth pastors are constantly doing, whether it’s spending time with kids one-on-one, sending text messages to kids, or going to events and being out in public with their students. We tell our youth pastors when they start, “You should just hammer relationships all day long.”
3. Study, Study, Study.
The final thing is that they should have adequate time to be studying God’s Word to prepare for lessons. Kids can tell if you’re not prepared. If you’re a youth pastor, you’re a pastor. You’re a leader, but you’re also a teacher—you’re a teacher of God’s Word.
Youth pastors should have time blocked off in their day or in their week during which they are in commentary, interpreting Scripture for themselves so they are prepared for their lessons. This will allow them to effectively teach God’s Word and do it in a manner that has credibility so the kids see that they’re taking it seriously.
Content is adapted from Gospel-Centered Youth Ministry by Cameron Cole and Jon Nielson. This article first appeared at Crossway.org; used with permission.