A young man, whose taken on the role of the youth leader in his church, asked a really good question
It happens. Your youth pastor leaves and you don’t have any viable candidates for the job; you don’t even have someone in your church that likes teenagers. When your youth pastor or key leader over the youth leaves, you risk losing that all important force: momentum.
There are many reasons why a youth pastor may leave but for the purposes of this article we’ll just say he moved on.
Factors to look at before you commit to an acton:
Did the youth ministry have any momentum to begin with?
Was the youth ministry growing?
Did students really like the youth leader or were they glad to see him go?
Was he/she there a long time or short?
Keeping all these factors in mind let me offer some general principles for gaining back or cranking up that much needed momentum.
Get feedback from kids
Gather some of the key kids form your group or if it’s a small group have them al over the house, possibly the Pastor or one of the parents homes and get the ball rolling with a few questions.
What were you doing right?
What needed some work?
What would you like to see happen in this youth ministry ?
How can we best honor God moving forward?
Recalibrate the old vision or create a new one
If the vision of your youth ministry is in tact, use the meeting with a students to fine tune it. If their is no vision or the vision is not being achieved, now would be a good time to dream a little and start fresh.
Here are my thoughts on creating a Mission/Vision Statement
Keep the events rolling
If it were me, I would keep most if not all the events planned on the calendar; rallying adults to make them happen for the sake of the kids. Nothing kills any potential momentum like killing events and programs.
Build or lean on Student Leaders
One of the main problems in losing a youth pastor is if that youth pastor did not pour into, train, and release leaders to lead. Too many times the kids are the victim of discipleship malpractice. The church becomes an enabler when they hire a youth leader to do everything and do not include, build strong students leaders/disciples the can carry on the ministry when you are gone in their job description.
If you have student leaders…
Being with having a conversation as I recommend above. If they have roles and responsibilities, let them continue them and ask them if they would like to share giving devotions/messages until someone is hired. If you are a Pastor or Deacon offer to fill in and help speak but, if possible, don’t take over the youth ministry and cut them out of the process.
If you do not have student leaders…
This is a great time to start pouring into kids. Consider starting a leadership group that meets monthly or weekly to start. Consider doing a 6 week Sunday School class or Sunday Night small group. You could broaden your reach and teach 6 weeks in your main meeting.
Finally, set a day to kickoff or relaunch
You can make the kick off as simple as fixing a date for a refresh or as a relaunch to share a new vision for the youth ministry (hopefully one your students created).
Kids need vision, They want to know that this thing they’re a part of called a youth ministry a.k.a The Church is going somewhere otherwise they will go to one that is going somewhere.
If you need further help, I offer a few more ideas in my two videos :
Kick Starting Your Youth Ministry Part 1 and Part 2
You could also listen/watch a podcast I did with my friend Ken McCoy with Jumpstart Ministries