A buddy of mine posted a link to this article (which makes some interesting points.)
The questions he poses are:
- Why am I doing this? (about the ministry itself)
- Why am I doing this? (about the specific event)
- Can I do this without Jesus? (the description of this question is bizarre)
- Who is my provider? (this is about not seeing the church as your employer…I get it but if the church is your employer then you still have to navigate that relationship like Paul talks about in Colossians 3:22-4:1)
- Who is my first love?
I want to propose my own five questions:
- Have I kept up with my Greek?
Your job is not just to vaguely make disciples of Jesus or to love people. Every Christian is called to love people. Your job, ostensibly, is to be the steward of the Gospel and the Scriptures which contain it. Paul talks about this in Ephesians 4:12-24, anybody given to the church as a pastor is to help people come to knowledge of the Son of God. Knowledge of Jesus comes from Scripture, especially the New Testament. (The same could be said of your Hebrew, but the early church often used the LXX).
- Do my students know what Jesus says to do?
Seriously, have you taught them how to learn about Jesus from the gospels? Jesus says that an invincible life can be forged from obedience to his teachings (see all four gospels on this point).
- Have I spoken to the parents in my church about Ephesians 6:4?
ἐκτρέφετε αὐτὰ ἐν παιδείᾳ καὶ νουθεσίᾳ κυρίου. (Eph 6:4) Or “[Fathers], noursish them in the training and the instruction of the Lord.” Parents are responsible for traditioning the gospel to their children in ways that a youth pastor can only facilitate.
- Do I encourage my students to be excellent students and to pursue useful careers?
A big complaint among youth ministers is the business of their students. Frankly, youth ministers should encourage their students to be disciples in all of their endeavors rather than inventing more and more ways to take their time. There is also the phenomena of youth ministers taking students who happen to love the Lord genuinely and immediately trying to encourage them into Bible college despite where the student’s actual talents are. Remember Ephesians again “Ὁ κλέπτων μηκέτι κλεπτέτω· μᾶλλον δὲ κοπιάτω, ἐργαζόμενος τὸ ἀγαθὸν ταῖς χερσίν, ἵνα ἔχῃ μεταδιδόναι τῷ χρείαν ἔχοντι. (Eph 4:28)” or rather “Let the thief no longer steal, but rather get a job, working hard with his hands, so that he might give to those in need.” Part of converting to Christ means learning skills to give material possessions to the needy. In my youth ministry experience as a kid and in almost every youth ministry book I’ve read the goal is to take people who are interested in the Lord and try to get them to be volunteers, future youth ministers, etc. The better goal is for them to use their competence in the direction God has called them (usually determined by their skills not simply their love of the Lord).
- Do I encourage my students to pray for the mission of the church in the world?
The mission of the church in the world is the whole reason you’re a youth pastor. Somebody told you the gospel. Does your youth ministry reflect the whole purpose of the church (the glorification of God in the world by means of discipleship under Jesus Christ)?
Bonus Question: Am I so immersed in youth-group culture that I cannot have a conversation with an adult?
This is a weird place to be. Don’t be that guy/gal who simply helps a bunch of young people be immature at restaurants into their twenties.