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Empowering Yourself: A Youth Pastor’s Guide to 24 Must-Have Traits in 2024

January 1 is day many people make commitments. Somewhere around February 14 these commitments have softened if not disappeared altogether. There are commitments though, especially for Christians, that should never soften or disappear, and I’m pretty sure you know what those are.

What you may not know are the qualities students are looking for in their youth pastors and that they qualities you can, and should, work on year round . Here’s your “let’s work on this” list for 2024.

Faith and Character

Faithful: A youth pastor should be a strong believer who exemplifies a life committed to God. (1 Corinthians 4:2)

Righteous: Living a life that upholds God’s moral standards. (Proverbs 4:18)

Trustworthy: Someone who is dependable and keeps their word. (Titus 1:7)

Integrity: Acting with honesty and moral uprightness. (Proverbs 11:3)

Self-Controlled: The ability to manage emotions and desires in a godly way. (Galatians 5:23)

Leadership and Relationships

Shepherd: A youth pastor should guide and protect their students like a shepherd cares for their sheep. (John 10:14)

Servant: Following the example of Jesus, who came to serve, not to be served. (Mark 10:45)

Patient: Understanding that students grow at different paces and require patience. (Ephesians 4:2)

Kind: Demonstrating compassion and care for students. (1 Corinthians 13:4)

Encouraging: A youth pastor should uplift and inspire their students. (1 Thessalonians 5:11)

Teaching and Communication

Knowledgeable: Having a strong understanding of the Bible and Christian theology. (2 Timothy 2:15)

Communicative: The ability to clearly and effectively share the Gospel message with students. (Acts 18:24-28)

Teacher: A youth pastor should be skilled at explaining the Bible in a way that is engaging and relevant to students. (1 Timothy 4:13)

Empathetic: Get into the shoes of your students. Remember when you were their age. Don’t grow out of being able to stoop down and say , “Yeah, I remember feeling that way” (Romans 12:15)

Passion and Fun

Enthusiastic: Having a contagious passion for Jesus and sharing it with others. (Romans 12:11)

Sense of Humor: The ability to laugh and have fun with students while creating a positive and welcoming environment. (Proverbs 17:22)

Creative: Developing innovative ways to engage students in learning about God. (Exodus 35:31-32)

Energetic: Having the stamina and enthusiasm to keep up with students. (Philippians 4:13)

Maturity and Guidance

Wise: Able to give sound advice and guidance based on biblical principles as well as building a team of diverse adults to meet the needs of students. You can’t do it all. (Proverbs 15:22)

Discerning: Having good judgment and the ability to make wise decisions. (I John 4:1)

Mentor: Someone who can invest in the lives of students and help them grow in their faith. (2 Timothy 2:2)

Role Model: A youth pastor should be someone students can admire and strive to imitate. (1 Timothy 4:12)

Supportive and Available

Approachable: Someone students feel comfortable talking to about anything. (Matthew 19:14)

Prayerful: A youth pastor who is committed to praying with and for their students. (James 5:16)

My new motto is Every Day, A Little Bit. Whether it’s lawn work or writing, whether I clip a little here or write once sentence there, I have done something and eventual complete what I started.

You don’t have to be perfect at any of these qualities but every day, you can do a little bit of soul work remembering that your students will need these traits from you, at some point, and you will be ready.

If you want to know what my students thought were the most important traits of a youth pastor should be, read this

If you need help in forming and shaping your character, sign up for my monthly mentoring program.

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