Jul 31

Questions a Church Must Ask BEFORE Hiring a Youth Pastor

One of the most visited posts’ on my blog is Questions to Ask When Hiring a Youth Pastor.  Today I was thinking about questions that a Church must ask before hiring a youth pastor.  If your Church is going to invest $150k of ministry dollars over the next three years, not only is it good stewardship to ask good questions before the hire, the success of the youth ministry depends on it.  Below are some questions that I would encourage your church to ask before you even talk to a potential candidate. This is not an exhaustive list, but they will help you find the right fit for your Church:

  • Why have we decided to hire a FT Youth Worker?
  • What do we believe is the purpose of Youth Ministry for XX Church?
  • Do we believe our youth ministry should be a service ministry to our existing families, an outreach to future families or both?Is there enough resources to do both?If not, what is the primary function of the Youth Pastor (service ministry or outreach ministry)?What will the congregation expect?
  • What is our philosophy of Youth Ministry? If your does not have one, this is an important issue to address before a hire.  Otherwise, the person you hired will be expecting to build a ministry around their philosophy of YM.  
  • If our Church did not have any kids, would we still be hiring a Youth Pastor?Why? Why not?
  • What model of youth ministry do we believe will be most effective in our Church (purpose-driven, family-based, traditional, cell-group, student led, missional?)
  • Does our Church embrace a relational or programmatic approach to youth ministry?
  • What are the primary gifts we want in a Youth Pastor (Leader, Teacher, Shepherd, etc.)?Which should be the top gift?
  • Are we hiring an architect of the Youth Ministry, or a manager of programs that already exist in our ministry?What is the job description for either option?
  • In 140 characters or less, what is the job description for this position?
  • What are the sacred cows in our Church?What will a potential candidate must be willing to embrace at XX Church (programs, bureaucracy, politics, etc?)
  • What do we expect the Youth Pastor to accomplish in one year?Three years?Five years? Ten years?
  • What metrics will be used to evaluate the performance of this position?
  • How much education should the Youth Pastor have prior to coming to XX Church?Will the Church provide the time and resources for continuing education if the Church believes further education is important?
  • What qualities will the Youth Pastor possess? (Personality, Passions, Leadership style, Older, Younger.
  • While interviewing candidates, you discover in the first ten minutes of the interview that this person is “it”, what do you believe are the contributing factors to that discovery?
  • What will a potential candidate need to succeed at XX Church?Will XX Church be able to support those needs?
  • What strengths will a candidate possess that we cannot live without?
  • What weaknesses will a candidate possess that we feel we can accept? What will we not accept?
  • Is there someone within our Church who is a viable candidate before we begin a search?

Note:  If you find that the group answering “both” to the questions that are asking for an either or choice, then it is important to choose a primary response, or be prepared to adequately resource both.  Most youth workers champion one, and strive to bring balance with the second.

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