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As a youth pastor, have you ever felt like this guy looks? The lies start hitting the fan: "You're too old to do this." "You won't be able to relate to this generation much longer." "Hang it up and go hang out with the old folks in adult ministry."

Don't you love it when you meet your teenagers' friends and they ask if you're their dad or mom?

You reach the age of 30 and finally feel like you know what you're doing and BOOM…you're suddenly too old? I had a minister tell me when I was 32 that I only had 1-2 years of youth ministry left.

That was many years ago.

What if I had listened? How many hundreds of youth would I not have touched in some small way with the life of Jesus Christ?

The tide is shifting. Youth ministry has become a viable full-time, professional position. You can actually make a living doing this! Can't you? Plus I am seeing more and more guys (northern slang to include both sexes) stay at their churches longer than I ever have before.

I asked several youth ministry professionals (all in youth ministry for more than 15 years and who served for more than 10 years at one church) to answer the following questions. Their names have been concealed to protect their positions!

How often does the thought of leaving or resigning your position hit you on an annual basis?
The average was 3-4 times per year. However one youth pastor has identified three seasons of frustration when he usually is challenged with those thoughts.
A) after a vacation
B) after a high pressure season of ministry
C) When I allow "junk" (envy, unforgiveness, jealousy, etc.) to get in my heart.

What adjustments have you made to keep you and your ministry fresh?
Exercise. Get a hobby to release your frustrations and have some fun. I learned when to say "NO."

Change the youth group name. Take one week to pray and fast four times a year. Change things at least every two to three years within your youth ministry. I don't need to do everything—delegate. I stopped being event-driven to become purpose-driven.

What do you do to keep from getting bored or lethargic in your life and ministry?
Take and use all of your vacation days wisely. I spend a lot of time with my family. Lots of sex with my wife. Self examine, self correct, and self commit on a regular basis. Quality time with God. Living my priorities; my wife and children come before the ministry. Run a marathon!

What percentage of your time is spent on youth ministry vs. other church responsibilities?
The average was about 75 percent. The low side was 30 percent and the high side was 95 percent.

What intimidates you the most about starting at a new youth ministry position?
Will my family be able to adjust? Leaving behind life long friends and relationships. Not having as good of a relationship with the new pastor as I do with the one I have now. Adjusting to new policies, leadership styles, and people. Fear of rejection. Will I be able to relate to kids in another place?

What has kept you in youth ministry?
You have to know your passion and calling and be content with it. I love youth and youth ministry. I believe God created me to help youth serve God. Ego is not a good enough reason to go pastor a church. My heart just won't let go of working with teenagers. I just turned 40 and I think I can do this another 10 years.

Am I a chicken because I haven't tried to pastor yet or am I being wise to stay where I am gifted and anointed? The thing that keeps me going is seeing the long-term fruit when I get letters and phone calls from former students who have married, have children and are living for God!

Copyright © Dean Hawk Ministries
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Author Biography

Dean Hawk
Web site: The Rock Family Church
Dean is the founding pastor of Rock. He has been married to his wife, Kim, since 1983 and they have three adult children; Alesha, Allyson and Preston. Since 1981 Dean has served in the full time ministry. Prior to starting the church in 2004 he served as a Youth and Associate Pastor in three different churches. Along with his current pastoral duties Dean is also an adjunct professor at Charis Bible College in Woodland Park.

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