The Center for Youth Ministry Training exists to train and equip youth ministers and churches to develop deep impacting, sustainable youth ministries. My job is to help young youth pastors succeed in fulfilling their calling which is why I LOVE Mark DeVries and Jeff Dunn-Rankin’s The Indispensable Youth Pastor.
The burnout rate in youth ministry is 3.9 years. Youth ministers who saw a burning bush 3.9 years later run to do anything else. Why? Because working in a church is too ______ hard? (Pick your adjective. I’ve heard them all.) In addition to the burnout rate, there is a high turnover rate; and yes I know the 18 month turnover rate is just a myth. However, buried within the myth is truth.
Young youth pastors do turn over like hot cakes (another word for pancakes). They get burned on one side and then are already hardened when they flip over on the other side and start at another church. Some people are staying lengthy stays at churches ie. Mark DeVries (25 years at FPC) and Jeff Dunn-Rankin (10+).
Therefore, Mark and Jeff give you The Indispensable Youth Pastor: Land, Love, and Lock in your Youth Ministry Dream Job. What you’ll find on the inside is a combination of job search techniques and realistic grounding. Churches are far from perfect and finding a church that is primed and ready for everything you and God desire for it is … not hard … but more like impossible. This doesn’t mean that the church and you won’t grow into God’s vision, but it is not going to be there out of the gate. Therefore, you have to come with realistic expectations for what a job in youth ministry at any church is going to look like.
Indispensable reads like 47 great blog posts all strung together. Each mini-chapter hits on one piece of practical advice that will make being a youth pastor easier. The first five chapters deal with making sure youth ministry is right for you. Mark and Jeff raise some great questions to help you discern a vocational call to professional youth ministry. Remember if you like being the camp counselor, then you should probably be a volunteer.
The next twelve help you develop and go through a search process which concludes section one. Remember the chapter/posts are short (making it perfect toilet reading). From Finding a Match to Family Matters each chapter is a nugget of truth for finding a church. Remember just because they offered you the job doesn’t mean you should take it.
Section Two covers how to LOCK in your dream job. I know youth ministers that are still dealing with issues addressed in these 17 simple chapters. Every youth minister should remind themselves of these things. Evolution, Not Revolution is my favorite chapter. But Clarity is Job One and Sync Me convey truths for youth ministers no matter how many years of ministry they have.
Section Three covers how to LOVE your job and contains 12 great lessons learned from those who have stayed long enough to be able to say I love this place. Loving a church means loving it in spite of its issues and loving it through its issues. If you are always running to the next church, then you probably haven’t learned these lessons.
Every youth minister needs to have a copy of Indispensable. You need it for yourself and you need to give it away to someone feeling called or struggling at their church that needs it.
Thanks to my friends Mark and Jeff for taking the time and energy into this project. Every CYMT student will read this book as a part of our program as long as I’m in charge. You can get your copy from Youth Ministry Architects.
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