I recently watched a video (below) by fellow youtubing youth pastor Delmar Peet, and he brought out some excellent points as to when a youth pastor should be fired. I’d like to add my two cents with a list of my own.
Sexual Immorality/Abuse/ etc. is a no brainer and is the clearest of the offenses that require a youth pastor to be fired. My list offers more subtle reasons that, if they go unaddressed, can hurt a church in the long run.
I will also add, Pastors, this is warning to youth workers not a potential list of violations you should be looking for to fire your youth worker. I’m not talking about firing someone for an individual instance but for a willful lifestyle un-open to correction.
Youth workers, here’s my list of offenses you should avoid if you don’t want to get fired.
One of my problems is that I am loyal to a fault. I have stayed in churches when I should have left much sooner, but because I wanted to show loyalty, I stayed.
Let me clarify what disloyalty is and what is not.
Disloyalty is publicly criticizing your pastor, his vision, and the church.
Disloyalty is not disagreeing with your pastor. Hash it out behind closed doors.
Disloyalty is persuading others to support your ideas rather than the pastors vision and in some cases actually work against it.
Disloyalty is not gathering a few close, trustworthy people who understand both sides of a situation and sharing your struggle.
If you can’t support the pastor and his vision, try your best to leave on amicable terms.
I have messed some stuff up because of a lack of organization and planning. Thankfully I survived most of my jobs by the grace of God.
Constant disorganization can cost the church money, time, and relationships. It can also create an unsafe environment where unnecessary risks are taken that could result in youth getting hurt physically, mentally, and emotionally.
A youth worker who is not not trying to improve his planning skills and listening to wisdom, become a detriment the organization and ultimately has to to.
Let me recommend a book I’ve written to help you from getting fired.
Dissension is cousin to disloyalty but far more evil Disloyalty is selfishness over programs, visions, etc. Disloyalty is about what we want versus what is best for the whole. Dissension is about dividing the body and causing trouble over doctrine, theological slants, sowing seeds of suspicion.
A youth worker who intentionally tries to divide the body isn’t just disloyal, it is ungodly and listed among the acts of the flesh.
The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity, and debauchery; idolatry and sorcery; hatred, discord, jealousy, and rage ;rivalries, divisions, factions, and envy; drunkenness, carousing, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God
Divisions, discord, and factions are usually about issues of power and who has it. A youth worker who attempt to seize power (influence) through slights or tearing leadership down is not just immature but has some serious spiritual issues that must be corrected.
Lost Faith In Students
You could say I lost my faith in science and progress
You could say I lost my belief in the holy Church
You could say I lost my sense of direction
You could say all of this and worse, but
If I ever lose my faith in you
There’d be nothing left for me to do
These lyrics by musician Sting, says the worse thing you could say about him is losing faith in someone else. If a youth worker loses faith in his students, there isn’t much they can do except renew that faith or resign.
A loss of faith in students may look like not raising up leadership, having a controlling spirit, not planning anything because you don’t believe anyone will show up, lack of relationship building, etc.
Losing faith in students is to believe God is done with them and that is simply not true.
The the oath of a doctor includes the phrase “to do no harm”. Students are at a fragile place in live and are vulnerable to the influence of leadership, especially leadership in the local church where everyone is supposed to be workin on their behalf to grow in Christ.
In my opinion, works of spiritual malpractice include
- Having hype meetings without making disciples
- Manipulating others through guilt and shame
- Not developing leaders so you can stay in charge
- Creating worship around you rather than around God
- Making God look like a boring dad, the tooth fairy, or a legalistic megalomaniac
- Creating an atmosphere or judgment and condemnation
- Creating rules heavy relationship light environment.
Of course there are others, but I think these capture the spirit of things.
Lone Ranger Mentality
Lastly, if the youth worker will not build a team, they are hurting the youth ministry. Now, if the church is limited as to who can work with teens that is one things, purposely not creating a team so the youth worker can be the star is another.
The Lone Ranger mentality is harmful to the youth ministry because it does not allow the youth ministry to multiply, listen to various perspectives, and benefit from the life experiences and gifts of others.
If a youth worker can’t build a team and train them that’s one thing. If a youth worker won’t build a team, that’s another story.
Don’t get caught in any of these traps. Stay humble, stay teachable, keep your eyes on Jesus and your job will be safe, well, safer.