The office of “pastor” in the Bible is also communicated through other words such as “shepherd”, “bishop”, “overseer”, “presbyter”, and “elder”. That last one, “elder”, is of particular importance. It carries with it the connotation of someone “older”, someone who has a lot of life experience. That is not the case with the word “pastor” – which merely means a “guide”. But considering all the words used to describe the office of “pastor”, we can see that it is not a position for a young person. The “young leading the young” is perhaps as dangerous (or synonymous) as the “blind leading the blind” (Luke 6:39). (Think – Lord of the Flies)
Historically, churches did not have “Youth Pastors”. It is really a 20th Century phenomenon. That means for virtually 1900 years the office never existed in the church. That leaves us with an important question; “Should we have Youth Pastors”? Yes and No. No, in the sense that we shouldn’t have preachers posing as youth pastors because we do not have authority for such in the Bible. The Holy Spirit is clear with statements like “older women” teach “younger women” (Titus 2:3-4), etc. However, “Yes” we should have “Youth Pastors” in the sense that the “Pastors” of the church are to shepherd the youth, just as they are to shepherd everyone in the church (Acts 20:28). However, the qualifications and duties of Pastors are strictly laid out in scripture (I Tim. 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9). 99% of self-labeled “youth pastors” today do not meet these criteria. They are simply serving under an unauthorized title hoping to one day be “real pastors” like you see in the Bible.
That being said; while no church should have the office of “Youth Pastor”, every church that has children should have “YOUth Pastors” (The emphasis being on the “YOU”). That is, “YOU” as a parent should be the pastor of your child. There is not only authority for this in the scripture, but you are actually violating the principles and commands of God if you, as a parent, are the not the spiritual pastors of the youth in your own household. Let’s look at some reasons why:
1. YOU are God’s plan – From the beginning of time it has always been God’s plan that godly parents shepherd godly children (Proverbs 22:6; 23:13-16). That they care for them, nurture them, train them up, and discipline them (I Thess. 2:7&11). You may read the Bible 1,000,000 times through and you will never find another “Youth Pastor” for your children other than YOU… their parents. If you are not doing what you need to be doing in the home to bring your children up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord, then you are forsaking God’s plan for the family (Ephesians 6:4). You are forsaking the command of the Lord, and forsaking one of the most honorable and solemn duties the Holy Spirit has charged you with in the blessing of parenthood (Hebrews 12:5-9; Proverbs 6:20-23).
2. YOU are Responsible – No one is responsible for your children other than you. Think of secular education for a sec. Is a school responsible for your child’s education? No. No, No, NO! YOU are responsible for your child’s education. Now, you may send them to public school to get that education, or private school, or home-school, it doesn’t really matter. Regardless of the school, YOU are the one who is ultimately responsible to see that they are learning and maturing. The same is true with your children’s spiritual education. No one is responsible for it but you (Ephesians 6:4). It’s not the churches job to spiritually train up your child, or the “Sunday school” teacher, or the Pastors of the church… it’s YOU. It’s YOUr job. YOU are to be their YOUth pastor spiritually, because YOUr children are YOUr sheep and YOUrs alone.
3. YOUth Pastor leads to Pastor – One of the qualifications of being able to be a “pastor” in the church is being a “pastor” at home. In I Timothy 3:4-5 we see that a man who desires to be a pastor in the church must have a record of managing his own household: To keep it in order, to keep his children under control, to be able to teach adequately. The direct implication that the Holy Spirit makes is that if a man cannot pastor his own household, then how could he possibly be equipped to pastor the Lord’s church? Now Jesus wants capable qualified pastors in His church, and one of the ways they show they are capable of being a pastor is by respecting the Chief Shepherd’s (I Peter 2:25) authority and commands; not by being a self-proclaimed “Youth Pastor” in the church, but by being the YOUth Pastor of their own home.
4. If Not YOU, then Who? Your children will have a shepherd in their lives. There will always be someone there to happily be the pastor of your child. Inevitably, when there is a vacuum of leadership something or someone will fill that void. Unfortunately, many times it falls back to Satan. When a parent decides to be an absentee shepherd in the life of their own children, then the devil sees an opportunity. He’s not so much a wolf in sheep’s clothing, as he is a lion in shepherd’s clothing (I Peter 5:8). If you are not going to shepherd your child; then who? While you may hope it’s the “Youth Pastor” at church, it’s much more likely to be the youth pastor of the world (Ephesians 2:1-2). Realize that God’s plan is YOU, and when you forsake God’s plan, God’s way, you are abandoning the best way.
If you ever think your kids are acting like “little devils”; ask yourself “Why?” Maybe it’s because they have the wrong youth pastor in their life. If you don’t know how to be a YOUth pastor to your own children… learn. There are plenty of resources in this world to teach you how to be the parent you should be, the greatest of which is the Holy Bible. If I can assist you in anyway, to being the parent God wants you to be, and your kids need you to be, please ask me. I’d be happy to help. YOU be the “YOUth Pastor” in YOUr family, and witness God’s glorious plan at work.