How to Hire a Former Youth Pastor

How to Hire a Former Youth Pastor

There is some inherent risk when hiring a former Youth Pastor (or Student Ministry Pastor) for a non Youth Pastor job. Success with students doesn’t guarantee success with adults. Understanding how to minister to a middle school girl doesn’t simply translate to working with a board of elders or developing relationships with city leaders. So should you hire a former Youth Pastor for a non-student ministry job?

Why Behavior Modification Never Works Out The Way You Planned

We teach to see life change, but we get distracted by behavior change. 


Behavior change isn’t the enemy, it can be an indicator that change is taking place, but for the teacher it can be a distracting objective. Plus it’s not a completely accurate indicator. 

I spent my first few years in Student Ministry, where this is all too evident. Think of that perfect student, the one who dressed the right way, talked the right way, who had all the respect of their "church going" peers and adults. They behaved in all the right ways, until the went off to school. Then it all fell apart. It was as if they were a completely different person. 

They had “perfectly modified behaviors” but no life skills to help them make decisions in the future. We told them how to behave right now, but didn’t teach them how to make wise choices in the future. 

This change starts in how we teach (The Most Under Recognized Ingredient in a Powerful Message). It means we need to know how our topic applies to the lives of our audience. We need to know how they can specifically apply it to their lives. 

Changing your listener’s behavior, can give their “image” a nice shine, but giving you listener a new skill can last for a lifetime.

Instead of focusing on which behavior are you trying to change, focus on which problem you’re going to solve.

Teaching them how to apply scripture’s principles to their lives, to their relationships, to their careers, to their families is what helps them. Even better, instead of telling them what to do, dig into why it’s important to address this issue in their life. Why was Jesus talking about it? Why was Paul addressing it? Then give them an opportunity to make a decision. 

Life change starts with a choice. 

Life change is a personal thing. It’s an individuals choice. It’s our job to ask the question, it’s theirs to decide their answer. Do they see the need for this change in their life? 

A choice isn’t good enough. 

Just because you decide to loose weight doesn’t mean you have the tools to do so. You’ll need some new skills. We need to teach them how to see the problem and how to deal with it. 

Choice + skills — probably still isn’t enough.

To be honest, making a choice to change and having the “skills” to do so isn’t enough. The secret sauce is, and always has been, community. Life change happens in the context of relationships. 

Choice + skills + community. Now we’re ready for life change! 

Today's question: How do you measure life change as it relates to your teaching? Leave your response in the comments below or on Twitter. 

Misunderstanding the Art of Preaching

Why teaching is about more than just telling.

Photo by Roo Reynolds |

Photo by Roo Reynolds |

There is a great phrase in the training industry — Telling Ain’t Training (inspired by a great book of the same name [affiliate link]). I had spent years as a pastor convincing myself that my job was to sell ideas. Most examples throughout my life had done just that. So, week after week I would stand in front of my audience and sell. I would present an idea but unfortunately, it would stop there.

A few years later I entered the training world. It wasn’t long before I started getting feedback that I sounded like a preacher when I taught. Not exactly what I was going for! Being compelling was important, but it was shortsighted, barely impactful, and hardly measurable. My job wasn’t only to sell the importance of the topic, it was to actually add value. When they walked out, it wasn’t good enough if they bought into the idea, they had to be able to implement the idea. They had to have a new skill in their toolbox.

The phrase “Telling Ain’t Training” is the bold reminder we as speakers need to remember. “Telling” doesn’t add value! Telling is a one-way exercise that lacks follow through and commitment. Insert that into a noisy society of information overload, and if it doesn’t add value it’s not long before it fades into the noise.

Value is currency as a speaker. Giving your listeners the skills and tools to solve their current or future problems is what adds value. So if you feel like your audience is loosing interest, or worse, not even responding, ask yourself: What do they need? What skill, tool or exercise is going to get them to their next step?

Start by breaking down your issue; define your topic.

Once you know what you’re talking about (keep it to one sentence), write down exactly what outcome you’re hoping for. What is it that your listener should be doing as it relates to the topic. For example, if we’re talking about caring for your neighbor, what is the perfect response/behavior your audience should be delivering. Should they go home and mow the neighbor’s lawn?

Now that you’ve nailed that down, think about your audience. How does that preferred outcome compare to what they are doing right now? How are they currently acting? Teach them what they need to know to go from where they are, to where you want them to be.

That’s adding value! That’s going to help start a measurable change.



Post originally appeared on