Giving youth pastors the tools they need to make and shape disciples.

13 Negative Habits Youth Pastors Should Avoid

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Being a youth pastor is a rewarding but demanding role. While the focus is often placed on developing positive habits for success, it’s equally important to identify and avoid behaviors that can hinder your ministry.

This article explores 13 common pitfalls that can hold anyone back, but allow me to share why these habits, in a youth ministry context, will make you ineffective in ministry, hold back personal success and probably get you fired in the end.


Don’t put off crucial tasks until the last minute. Effective youth ministry requires planning and preparation.


Take ownership of your actions and the state of your program. Avoid blaming others for problems or shortcomings. Leaders take responsibility.


Celebrate the accomplishments of others, both students and colleagues. Don’t belittle achievements (yours or others) or downplay successes. In staff meeting, online or from up front, give a shout out to others who are crushing it.

Excessive Consumption

Focus on “producing” positive experiences for your students. Minimize time spent passively consuming media or negativity, it will kill your motivation, momentum and creativity.

Talking Too Much

Listen actively to your students and colleagues. Effective communication involves more than just stating your case. Pull, don’t push.

Making Assumptions

Don’t take anything for granted. Communicate clearly and be prepared to adapt based on actual situations. Don’t make decisions until you’ve heard both sides and have all the facts.


Avoid constant criticism and negativity. Be a cheerleader for your students and your ministry. Never allow your bruised ego lead to berating the group. See them not as they are but as they could be.

Malingering (great word)

Don’t just talk about accomplishing things, take action! Follow through on your dreams and plans. “Without execution, ‘vision’ is just another word for hallucination.” – Mark V. Hurd


While rest is important, avoid neglecting your responsibilities. Strive for a healthy balance between work and personal time. Treat laziness like a rabid bear trying to eat you, run from it.


Be clear and consistent in your communication. Don’t say one thing and then backtrack later. In other words, don’t make promises you can’t keep or make excuses why you can’t keep your promises.

Overly Cautious

While calculated risks are essential for growth, don’t be paralyzed by fear. Embrace opportunities and learn from experiences, both successes and failures. Risk is part of the job.

Sour Grapes

If something doesn’t work out, don’t make excuses or harbor resentment. Learn from the experience and move on. Turn your Womp Womp into a Win Win.


Persistence is key. Difficulties are inevitable, but don’t give up on your students or your ministry.

Remember, it’s not about what you believe it’s what you practice.

Do you want to weed out these negative habits before they get a strangle hold on your ministry? You might benefit from my My Monthly Mentor coaching program. My monthly check in program provides

  • a safe space to work out your ministry identity and purpose
  • a sounding board for crazy ideas or to just vent
  • a lab to experiment with programming

If this sounds like a place you want to visit every month, all for less than what your streaming services are costing you, click here.

If you want more articles, like this, in your inbox, sign up for the Youth Ministry Round Up newsletter and get my free e-book 10 Excuses That Are Killing Your Youth Ministry.

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