6 Qualifications of a Great Youth Pastor


There are some qualifications you need to know before entering the youth pastorate.

What are the qualifications of a youth pastor?

Qualifications of a Youth Pastor: courageous, rigorous discipline, unwavering devotion to Jesus, psychologically strong, brains and expertise in all that they do.

NIV Deuteronomy 25:4 Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain.

I will attempt to argue what it means to be a qualified youth pastor.

Entering the youth pastorate is not easy. It sucks getting paid nickels and quarters, meeting the demands of parents, elders and students.

Youth pastors aren’t lazy. Youth ministry is not only fun and games. Being a youth pastor is not a “cute” job. Youth pastors are not only “THE YOUTH PASTOR.”

One of my mentors once told me if the youth pastor has the ability to set up, maintain and sustain a kick-butt youth ministry, he/she will be able to anything they set their mind to.

Youth pastors need to be oxes! We have to realize everything hangs on the youth pastors leadership.

Traits of a Ox-like Youth Pastor:


Character is everything. Character includes such things as self-discipline, modesty, teamwork, integrity, purity, virtue, hard work ethic, loyalty, honesty, fearlessness, tenaciousness and determination. Character and responsibility are everything. The youth pastor must be transforming, not conforming. Every Ox-leader must grow in Christ-like character (Matt 25:14-30, Luke 8:4-15, 2 Cor. 5:17-21, Ephesians 4:17-5.2, Genesis 2:7, Isaiah 64:8 and 2 Cor. 4:7-11)


It is essential the youth pastor teaches with power, authority and with excellence. Teach from the Bible and connect points with clear application steps. Great books for youth ministry teaching:  Unleashing God’s Word in Youth Ministry by Barry Shafer, Speaking to Teenagers: How to Think About, Create, and Deliver Effective Messages by Doug Fields and Duffy Robbin, and Communicating for a Change: Seven Keys to Irresistible Communication by Andy Stanley and Lane Jones.


Confronting problems and conflict is a huge part of youth ministry. If you are not prepared on how to handle conflict, problems will destroy you. Youth pastors need to know how to discipline. If they don’t know how to discipline, their students will run all of them! I guarantee it. Youth pastors need to know how to spot a wolf and rebuke a wolf. You will not know if your are a shepherd until a wolf shows up.  It is difficult rebuking your students, but they need it and your youth ministry needs it. Youth ministry is one big, difficult conversation.

Great Family/Relational Person

Great daddy/husband/wife/mother: The youth pastor must have his/her family life in order. If you cannot effectively manage the family, there is no way you will be able to manage a youth ministry.

NT Office–Shepherd, King, Priest

Detect if you are a Prophet, Priest or King.

A prophet is a youth pastor who has high vision, passion and discipline for the things to come. A prophet is not scared to rebuke people of their sins and doctrine. I would consider some of the reforming guys prophets.

A Priest is the ultimate shepherd. A Priest uses the “love” card a lot and really cares, nurtures and has a big heart for their students. I would consider some of the emerging guys Priests.

A King is the youth pastor who dominates everything. The King is highly skilled in management, organizational structure and is a great communicator. I would consider some of the mega youth pastors Kings.

It is important you know what type of New Testament office you hold.  Whatever office you are will determine what type of youth ministry you will build.

The youth pastor must realize: Leadership is everything!


Knowing how to study the scriptures and study secular culture is imperative in order to be successful in youth ministry. The youth ministry world needs more youth pastors that are street smart. Notice I didn’t say church smart, but street smart. The future youth pastor will need to know how to integrate culture, theology and youth ministry. It will be huge if youth pastors are seminary trained and have a great public school education. Churches will need youth pastors to be very comfortable explaining why the other faiths are wrong and be able to clearly articulate a logical response without looking like a Christian idiot.

In short: “… every youth pastor should never stop training and never stop learning.”

This article originally appeared on ChurchLeaders.com in 2011.

Jeremy Zach Jeremy Zach easily gets dissatisfied with status quo. He reeks with passion and boredom is not in his vocabulary. He becomes wide awake when connecting with student pastors, thinking and writing about student ministry, experimenting with online technology, and working out. He is married to Mikaela and has two calico cats, Stella and Laguna. He lives in Alpharetta, Georgia and is a XP3 Orange Specialist for Orange—a division of the REthink Group. Zach holds a Communication degree from the University of Minnesota- Twin Cities and Masters of Divinity from Fuller Theological Seminary.

More from Jeremy Zach or visit Jeremy at http://ReYouthPastor.com

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