Friend & Youth Pastor, Stephen Hataway writes about Youth Pastors being Biblical…
A student from a ministry I oversee was recently invited to attend a bible study. At first glance, this sounded like a great idea. A pastor should love one of their students attending a get-together of believers with the intention of learning more of the Truth.
Unfortunately for her, this instance happened to be more of an opinion study under the guise of spiritual development. Perhaps my buttons were pushed quite a bit since the topic took a jab at what I believe is my calling. This particular “study” was focused around disapproval of the global church’s decision to use a youth/children’s pastor to help influence a child’s spiritual development.
I thought I’d vent a bit by writing a small piece on why I myself, along with many pastors around the world, believe student- and children pastors are not so unbiblical. Hopefully, after looking at some choice texts, you’ll feel the same. After all, my job security could depend on it.
One of the main objections to my line of work is that we take too much away from God’s original institution of family. If we separate the congregation during worship times, the family is hindered from learning together. I’m not sure how someone can reasonably come to the conclusion that an hour and a half per week spent at church eliminates all other family learning. There is still 166.5 hours left in one week for them to grow together.
The notion that it’s wrong to separate the church into different demographics is, in my opinion, not taking the full council of God into consideration. Paul instructed two specific pastoral leaders, Timothy and Titus, to do just that. In Titus 2:1-10, Paul distinguishes four different groups to teach, each with their own outline for learning. Titus wasn’t supposed to generically address them all, but to separately instruct the groups with a specific and unique message geared to their social structure.
1 Peter 5, Ephesians 5-6, Colossians 3 and I John 2 are all examples of the Holy Spirit using the writer to specifically address different ages, genders, and with social and economical statuses. For the body of Christ to fully receive the teaching necessary to emulate our Savior, specific teaching is needed and commanded to pastors.
One could only imagine how difficult it would be for one man to fulfill the demands of shepherding the entire flock. I believe Timothy must have begun to feel this pressure as he tried his best to keep the church in Ephesus from falling apart. In his second letter to Timothy, Paul encouraged him to begin spreading the load to other men who could help him to teach. (II Tim. 2:2) While this can’t be translated directly into “Ordain children and youth pastors”, it does seem pretty clear that several teachers are meant to help get the job done.
I once attended a leadership meeting at a church where a parent voiced their dissatisfaction with their student’s memorization of scripture. They felt the church was inadequately preparing their child for life as a believer. To that point, I have to agree with them. The church alone was not meant to be the only teacher in a student’s life. The pastor leading the meeting commented back to them about how the church is meant to be a supplement to what the students are receiving from home. If a child is not being trained in the way they should go, examine the home before the place of worship. We are designed to reiterate truth for students, not be the sole deliverer. Just think of us a spiritual en-famille. Too many families want to gorge at a Bible buffet on Sunday, hoping that one meal can last till next week. I find it hardly fair to blame a restaurant for someone starving to death at home.
God meets every believer where and how he is. Is it so surprising that he would call and ordain men and women with specific gifts to meet specific groups of the body of Christ? The Youth Pastor is a piece of the puzzle that ministers to the needs of the entire family. If each member of the family receives the instruction of God needed at their particular moment-of-life, then when they do come together outside of the church, they will be better able to walk in unity. (Ephesians 4:16)