You should avoid the tendency of some churches to sacrifice biblical integrity in the name of relevance when deciding what curriculum to use in the youth ministry. It is a reality, when compared to the amount generally evangelical youth material out there that there is not much in the way of theologically reformed youth ministry curriculum. Great Commission Publications has been doing good work with their “So What?” series and Susan Hunt’s “True Woman” studies are being used by a number of churches. The good news is that with the new growth of reformed theology in evangelical America a theological trickle down is happening in many youth ministry circles. The result is that publishers like P&R are starting to publish reformed youth ministry books so you should see what they are offering on their website. The youth ministry section of the CEP website has a resource page that will has several curriculum possibilities listed. Be sure to check back there often as the list will be updated regularly.
The best place to find out about good camps and conferences is to contact other churches in your presbytery. That way you can get first hand recommendations from other youth programs in your area. The YXL conferences are solid youth leadership development conferences that take place at Covenant College, Horn Creek, CO and Ephrata, PA each summer. RYM summer youth conferences are quality conferences. Ridgehaven runs several junior high and high school specific camps throughout the year. ROOTED is a new conference for students that is connected to the Together for the Gospel movement. It is held in Birmingham, Alabama each year. The youth ministry section of the CEP website has a resource page that will has several camps, conferences and mission trips listed. Be sure to check back there often as the list will be updated regularly.
The answer to this question is…maybe. Some churches do so for practical reasons. Either the youth group is too large to function well when combined or the church does not have the enough adults volunteers or space to run a combined youth ministry. Determining the pros and cons of splitting your youth group before making the decision can be helpful. These can range from the effect on parents with both junior and senior high children to the effectiveness of teaching when the students are combined. By doing this, some churches have come up with a “third way” where the groups are together for part of the youth group and separated for other portions. Having a thought out response to why your youth program is combined for those parents who are worried that their junior high students are too young to be with the senior high students or to why you are not combined for those parents who are frustrated by having to make two trips to the church to drop off their children for different youth groups can be helpful in preventing in any potential conflict.
Yes. CEP is one of the avenues that your church can use to get the word out about youth ministry positions. The first step is to send the job description to CEP’s Youth and Family Ministry Consultant, Danny Mitchell. He will then begin forwarding resumes of folks who are looking for jobs in youth ministry as he receives them. He is available to consult with your search committee, Session or pastor during the hiring process if you would like to take advantage of this service. Statistically, the number of students that are of youth ministry age are between 10-15% of the membership of a local church. Many churches begin considering full or part time youth staff when their membership reaches around 200. Generally speaking, CEP is not the best place to look when looking to hire part time staff. Our recommendation is to look within in your congregation first for part time youth staff. A few other places to contact when looking for youth staff are the Adminstrative Committee, Reformed Youth Ministries (RYM), Seminaries and Covenant Colleges youth ministry professor, Len Teague and the Barnabas Connection. Asking other paid youth workers in your presbytery can be helpful as they may have contacts with other youth workers who are looking for jobs.
Yes. CEP is one of the avenues that you can use in your job search. The first step is to send your resume to CEP’s Youth and Family Ministry Consultant, Danny Mitchell. He will then contact you about sending out your resume. He is also available to consult with you through the process to help you learn red flags to watch out for or to help you prepare to interview. One key to a successful youth ministry job search in the PCA is to cast your net as wide as possible. Many churches end up hiring someone that is connected to someone in their church particularly someone who is in leadership. Using your own personal network is one of the more effective ways of finding the right church.
Start with the mission and vision of the church and build out from there. Creating a separate mission or vision for the youth ministry can lead to conflict within the church and confusion among the students. Remember that more is not necessarily better in this case. Resist the temptation to create a mission and vision that are filled with cumbersome theological language and is several sentences long. You want both your mission and vision to be easily remembered and easily communicated. CEP’s Youth and Family Ministry Consultant, Danny Mitchell, can work with your church in developing the mission and vision for your youth ministry.
The two best things that you can do are (1) pray for the Lord to raise up adults in your church to work with students and (2) ask people to become youth leaders. Remember that how you ask can be important. Adults like to understand the need and what the specifics of the task they are being asked to do are. For those reasons, overwhelming someone in the back corner of the church before worship on Sunday probably is not the best approach. Perhaps letting the person know that you have been praying about youth leaders and the Lord brought them to mind and then asking if you can set up a meeting so you can share about the youth program is a better approach. Some youth pastors have success in recruiting new volunteers by asking the current volunteers to ask people they know in the church. Other churches use job descriptions and contracts for volunteer youth leaders as a tool to recruit new volunteers. Over the years the most popular and perhaps most unsuccessful approach has been to make public pleas from the pulpit during announcements. While it is easier to make one mass appeal, there is no substitute for looking someone in the eye and asking them to use their gifts in discipling the next generation.
People who work in youth ministry professionally are not expecting to get rich but they do need to be paid a fair wage for the responsibilities that they have been given. Youth ministry can also be a high burnout vocation. One of the top reasons for burnout is the underpaying of your youth staff. With that in mind, here are a few guidelines to use when thinking about what to pay your youth pastor. An axiom that is prevalent today is to find out what a public school teacher in your area with comparable experience makes and use that as a guide. That approach will work well in many contexts. However, having the group in your church who decides salaries ask these two questions can be helpful as well. (1) Given the responsibilities that our church is asking the pastor to do, would I be willing to do them for the amount of money that we are offering? (2) With the amount of money that we are offering, can our youth pastor and his family live in and participate socially in the community that our church is located in?