I was talking to a pastor not long ago, about his recent hire of a youth leader for his church. He was so excited by the opportunity to have a “face” for his church’s youth ministry. He described the young man as “attractive” to young people and the kind of “look” and “style” that would be sure to draw kids in. He talked further about this individual’s personality that would really appeal to students with his “stage presence”. The pastor even described this young man’s wife (#awkward) that could complete the “package” that he thought they needed for promotion and even video production.
We would hope that that youth ministry mind-set is an out-dated one. The old idea that anyone working with students needs to be young and hip. This thought that young people are going to be drawn into a church and somehow a deeper desire to be Godly by thin, young, in-shape, and attractive people, still continues to show up, however. Even as this generation and our world shifts away from this idea of photo-shopped perfectionism, there still remains this lingering idea in ministry?
Looking back at that conversation and hearing from friends that, that hire isn’t going as well as expected, I am continued to be challenged. Do not get me wrong, I am not saying God can’t use young and good looking people (*see my headshot in the “about us” section… LOL), I am simply asking are we limiting our ministry and potential?
Even as I build a team of paid and unpaid leaders in my church, am I challenging myself to look for “More Than a Face”?
Here is a quick list of 10 challenging contrasts to consider for hiring and recruiting well in youth ministry?
10. Cool vs. Character: Are there individuals of amazing Godly character we are overlooking because it may come in a less than cool package?
9. Age vs. Aptitude: Is there a value we are missing in our ministry of wisdom and life-experience when we are only seeking people who are in a certain age range?
8. Hype vs. Humble: Once the stage hype fades and the excitement is over, who are the people who are going to be continually humbly serving students? Are the most powerful truths we are teaching taught through hype or humbleness?
7. Fun vs. Focus: Is that what we are really about, seeking out the most fun people or do we need to find focused and faithful people that can direct students to Christ better they can direct a game?
6. Attraction vs. Attention: Are the people we seek needy for others to look at how attractive they are or are we seeking people who are comfortable in directing the attention away from them and toward Christ?
5. Personality vs. Perspective: Is it more important that people have the right personality or perspective? Are the individual we seeking out based on their human personality or their Godly perspective?
4. Love vs. Learning: Is just “loving on” students enough or do we need leaders that can also teach students something? Is the goal of our ministry to have students feel loved or learn why they are loved by God?
3. Connection vs. Content: In our desire for relational-connection in ministry are we also seeking individuals that bring deeper content to those relationships?
2. Career vs. Calling: This one is more specific to hiring, but is essential. Are we hiring people who are seeking a career based on their human talents and potential or people who are seeking a ministry based on their calling and Godly gifts? (https://blog.youthspecialties.com/potential-vs-calling/)
1. Good vs. Godly: Are the people we are hiring and recruiting a good choice or a Godly choice? Are we looking for more than good people and rather only willing to accept Godly people as leaders?