Posted by: watchman | March 26, 2009

Rev. Andy Bernard

I twittered the fact that I thought a lot of pastors were like Michael Scott in reference to my previous post. My friend Crazy Paul responded

Too many youth pastors remind me of Andy Bernard

He’s right. He is WAY too right.

For those of you not familiar with the Office, Andy Bernard is another relational train wreck on the show. It is hilarious to watch the excitable spazz deal with every situation with all of the maturity of a fifteen year old.

Things about Andy that remind me of a youth pastor:

  • He is super competitive when it comes to computer games or anything else for that matter. I’ve heard of youth pastors getting in fights with their youth over competitions.
  • Tends to live more in the glory days of his youth than in the present reality. How many youth pastors do you know that are stuck in their adolescence? This is somewhat of a good thing when it comes to relating to kids, but it can be pretty awful when kids are looking for stability and leadership.
  • Andy just wants to have fun. Like most of the staff, Andy gets hardly anything done. This is due to the fact that he spends most of his time goofing around. I know youth pastors who are only in their job, because they don’t really want to work.
  • He loves nicknames, especially his own. Enough said.

Youth ministry is a lot of fun, but it is more than just hanging out and shooting hoops or playing ping pong. It is the hard a nd difficult task of helping teens and their families maneuver through one of the toughest parts of life.

So, if you are a youth worker, have fun. But, remember that you are a leader and an example. The next time your middle school boys are giving eachother wedgies, maybe think twice before joining in.

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Responses

  1. As a former youth pastor, I’m going with…yep. I had a hard time not slipping back into my own youth group days at times. The balance between play and protection is a difficult and vital one to find. Youth pastors need to learn how to mirror to students and families what they are seeing; not always by joining in, but by learning to create discussion around what they see. It’s a hard job to do, and important that people are gifted to do it.

    Frankly I think it might just be the most demanding position in church ministry as a result. The president of the school where I got my master’s from said that the youth pastor should hold the highest paying position in the church because of all the relational facets that they have to be aware of and responsible for. I liked that idea at the time, and realized in our current church structures that it will never happen.

    I also want to add that a lot of Sr. Pastor’s and church leadership attempt to hire youth workers that are borderline adults…but not really. That’s evidenced in the fact that, generally speaking, the youth pastor position has rarely been given the same level of credibility as the Sr. Pastor position. I think Sr. Leadership sometimes believes the youth pastor will be easier to control if they hire someone who still carries the demeanor of an aging adolescent. When an adult youth shepherd is mature enough to spot the real challenges in students, families and even other leader’s lives, and is willing to name them, if the Sr. Pastor or Leadership aren’t capable of doing that themselves, or are committed to keeping it covered up, then that youth pastor is in big trouble. (That was a big sentence to represent a big problem).

    We need mature youth workers who can choose protection over play. We also need Sr. Leadership who are mature enough so as not to be threatened by someone who is attempting to shepherd too.


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