I’ve been in youth ministry for about 14 years in one capacity or another. Looking back, I sure wish I would have done some things differently. I’m fairly sure many of us feel that way.
Now, I personally think regrets are a waste of time but “7 things many youth pastors wish they’d done differently in hindsight” didn’t sound quite as catchy for a title …
So, here we go with 7 things many youth pastors wished they had done differently—aka, the 7 regrets of youth pastors:
1. Avoiding conflicts
As Christians, we’re supposed to be loving, kind and forgiving. The problem is this often results in an avoidance of conflict at all costs. I’ve let certain situations continue for too long because I wanted to avoid a conflict. Well, the conflict happened anyway, and it was much nastier than it would have been if I had faced it head-on.
2. Not communicating the vision enough
It’s a classic mistake: having a wonderful, even God-planted vision, but not communicating it enough to the rest of the team. I’ve been there, too. It took me a while to realize not everyone “gets it” the first time and that you need repeated, intense and diverse communication to get the vision across and get support for your ideas and plans.
3. Settling for a low salary
I could kind of afford to accept a low salary because my husband was working full time, but many youth pastors have to support a family on this income. I know it’s hard to turn a job down that is your dream, your calling, just because of money, but churches should really get the message they need to start paying better salaries to youth pastors.
4. Not train a successor
This is one of my big mistakes. I left my last position much sooner than I had expected due to personal circumstances. It meant leaving without any kind of succession in place, and the youth ministry has really suffered because of it. Granted, the church was in a difficult place at that time and mistakes were made, but in hindsight I wished I’d spend more time looking for someone to replace me.
These are the first four—we’ll do three more the next time. In the meantime: What is your biggest regret as a youth pastor—aka, the thing you wished in hindsight you had done differently?
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