Two battles are common for youth pastors in large churches: 1) The battle to be remembered in a sea of ministry initiatives, mission trips and campaigns and 2) the battle to have a relationship with your Sr. pastor.
What follows are some helpful strategies for developing a healthy youth ministry in a large church.
The Battle of Not Being Forgotten
Don’t be afraid to advertise what your youth ministry is doing. Do the announcements at your church regularly and use the opportunity to brag on your past mission trip. Let the church know about the miraculous healing and the opportunity Ted had to share the gospel with the lady at Wal-Mart. Ask for five minutes during your next members meeting and give a run down of the past year.
Follow the Pastor
Connect Sunday mornings to your students. The good intentions of preaching the word weekly and faithfully might become prideful when that is considered essential to your identity as “the youth pastor”. Consider taking breaks throughout the year and focus in on what you Sr. pastor is preaching. Follow him through a sermon series or topical discussion. Following the lead pastor prevents our pride of originality and binds your student ministry to the local church and to the centrality of the preached word.
Give Up Your Pulpit
Without making it seem like your student ministry is merely a stepping stone. Give up your pulpit and allow it to be a place for potential leaders to cut their teeth on expository preaching. Afterwards, invite your students to dialogue with the guest preacher about opportunities for improvement and things they enjoyed. Many potential church planters and elders need this skill, your youth ministry (and students themselves) can be involved in the training, equipping and sending of gospel-centered pastors in your city.
The Battle of Relating to The Boss
Study Your Pastor
Figure out your Sr. Pastor’s personality, study him and write notes. Take an active role in trying to understand how and by what processes your Sr. pastor likes to make and execute decisions. Humble yourself by tailoring your responses and requests to the man God has put over you. In return, you will have more fruitful, productive and God-glorifying conversations.
Sit at the Table
Our church has a weekly pastoral staff meeting where we: set vision, discuss ministry, church needs, church discipline, elder-alignment issues, community groups, lay-leader training and worship services. Perhaps you are in a situation where you have not been given a seat at that kind of table. Ask for one, and contribute when/if you have it. This kind of interaction connects you to the Sr. Pastor in a way that is invaluable. You can contribute to the vision of the church while benefiting from the sage advice of those that are (probably) older, more experienced, more loving, and better pastors than you.