Though many believe becoming a youth pastor is a relatively easy job, they’d be surprised to learn what goes into earning that title. It’s not a fluffy gig that just anyone could do; it takes time, dedication, discipline, and smarts. One needs to not only be secure in their religious and spiritual life, but they also need to be able to communicate and teach others in a gentle manner.
If you went to a church youth conference and it inspired you to make a life in the clergy, one way or the other, a youth pastor might be an enticing and inspiring position. And though it’s not the most dominating industry in America, many people have similar dreams as well. According to Zippia, it’s estimated there are nearly 32,000 youth pastors in the U.S.
Below are some statistics about youth pastors in America, based on Zippia’s report:
- 12.3 percent of all youth pastors are women, while 87.7 percent are men.
- The average age of an employed youth pastor is 51 years old.
- The most common ethnicity of youth pastors is White (72.8 percent), followed by Black or African American (10.7 percent), Hispanic or Latino (8.4 percent) and Asian (6.1 percent).
- Youth pastors are most in-demand in Linwood, NJ.
- Vancouver, WA pays an annual average wage of $45,420, the highest in the US.
- In 2021, women earned 98 percent of what men earned.
- Arizona is the best state for youth pastors to live.
- Youth pastors are 54 percent more likely to work at private companies in comparison to education companies.
- The median income for a youth pastor is $37,623,(Ziprecruiter)
What Is The Job Of A Youth Pastor?
Generally, the job of a youth pastor is to teach and lead children or youth ministries in worship services, education about Christianity, and lead volunteer and community outreach activities. Youth pastors aim to make church “cool” or approachable for young people.
They’ll also typically lead bible studies outside of church service, organize events around town on behalf of the church, and host meetings. Successful youth pastors lead with a positive and patient attitude toward young students or new members of the church. Pastors will lead sermons for congregations, involving reading and interpreting sacred texts, then tailoring lessons based on those readings.
They’re there to answer questions, provide counsel and support, and be a helping hand in conflict resolution or difficult times. They hope to generate fun and creative ways of teaching Christianity and design entertaining lessons that keep younger minds engaged.
What Are The Requirements To Become A Youth Pastor?
According to Indeed, most employers require two main qualifications in becoming a youth pastor:
- A Bachelor’s degree in philosophy, theology, ministry, divinity, or another related field: they need to know their stuff. Though churches can ultimately hire whoever they wish, most require some formal education resulting in a deep knowledge of Christianity, religion, morality, etc.
- Previous experience working with children/youth: This could be working with children or youth in any educational setting or capacity, or in a leadership role in the past. Many aspiring youth pastors complete internships or training while in college to gain this experience.
Though most contemporary churches will only require a Bachelor’s degree, there are master’s programs available in divinity or theological studies for those looking for a bit more. Depending on if you want to become a full-ordained minister or not, your educational requirements will look a little different.
What Skills Are Needed To Become A Youth Pastor?
There are several skills one needs to have on top of their education to be a successful youth pastor. Not just anyone can perform the job, but they need to be the right mix of several different elements necessary in the field.
- Communication skills: Since the job requires a lot of teaching and communication, a youth pastor needs to be able to talk to many different types of people and audiences. They need to teach effectively and be inspiring. They need to resolve issues between youth members and allow for open questions and discourse among members of the church. They need to be concise in their lessons and find creative ways to introduce a sermon.
- Empathetic mind: Youth pastors can’t be judgmental or shut off to their members’ needs. Children will have lots of questions and need understanding about their potential lack of understanding. They need to put themselves in their students’ shoes and be able to help them through difficult times or issues.
- Public Speaking: Pastors will lead sermons or small groups in lessons, volunteer activities, and other tasks that demand solid public speaking. Youth pastors need to be confident and capable to teach a full lesson and handle the pressure that comes with talking in front of large groups.
- Leadership: Youth pastors are leaders in the church for young people. They need to be fundamentally sound in their beliefs and life choices in order to set a positive example for youth in the church, as well as handle adversity well and answer questions clearly.
- Interpersonal skills: Youth pastors build relationships with their clergy, and need to develop trust with members of the church. They can be de facto counselors for struggling youth, and therefore need to know how to talk to different groups of people and handle difficult situations.
How Satisfying Is The Life Of A Youth Pastor?
Because the nature of the job requires cultivating meaningful relationships with members of the church and leading young people as the future of Christianity, youth pastors have the ability to really make a difference in many lives.
With community outreach and volunteer activities, pastors can help be responsible for impacting everyday people in small acts of kindness that can lead to big results in people’s lives. Pastors can be protectors of youth in difficult life situations and role models for kids needing guidance and direction.
All this work, dedication, and guided worship can bring a pastor closer to God as well, which can lead to a more fulfilling and meaningful life. A pastor from www.buildmomentum.org would be more than happy to talk to you about this step in life.