From time to time churches will reach out to me and ask me to review a job description for a youth ministry position. The first thing that strikes me is the fact that I wouldn’t qualify for most of these jobs.
I’m not saying I’m the perfect candidate, in fact I don’t think there is a cookie cutter youth minister quality. However, there are skills, characteristics and values that every parish should look for in a youth minister.
There is no perfect science to getting the right person, but there are qualities and characteristics you can look for in a professional youth minister. You need to make sure that the youth minister you hire:
SHOWS UP PREPARED AND READY TO INTERVIEW YOU
Finding the right youth minister isn’t just about finding a person who is going to do the job. You want someone who is going to be a part of the team. That means they are just as interested in you as you are in them.
A possible candidate is someone who has done the research about your church. They know your mission, vision and values (more on this later). Showing up prepared shows you that they are willing to go the extra mile to get the job done.
HAS EXPERIENCE WORKING ON A TEAM
You want someone who is going to be a team player. You want someone who is going to put others first, even if it means sacrificing something of their own. Look for people who have experience working on a team. Ask them questions like:
- What can you add to a team atmosphere?
- Describe a time where you put the team first?
- Describe a time when you put yourself before the team?
- What would your teammates/coworkers say about you?
Listen to how they talk about themselves and how they talk about others. While you want confidence, make sure humility is a part of their repertoire.
TALKS ABOUT BUILDING A TEAM OF ADULTS
Peer leadership is important, but it’s secondary to building a team of adults. You want a youth minister who understands the focus needs to be on building a team of adult volunteers. If they can lead other adults they will expand their influence on the next generation.
Ask them about their plan to reach more teens. See who they will use and rely on to grow their ministry. While there is nothing wrong with peer leadership it can’t be the foundation of your youth ministry. There is too much turnover and your teens need adults to pour into them.
KNOWS THEY AREN’T THERE TO MAKE FRIENDS
Watch out for youth ministers who see their role as an older sibling or best friend to the teens. You want someone who knows they need to lead, inspire and challenge the next generation. That means looking for skills like public speaking and experience with leading teams.
BUYS INTO THE VISION
After a relationship with God, this is probably the most important value that a youth minister should embrace. If they don’t buy into the vision then it’s going to be impossible for them to gel with the rest of the team.
During the interview ask questions that center around the vision. See if the candidate knows it because they did the research. Determine whether or not it’s something important to them or if they have their own agenda.
It’s not about having a masters or serving in their campus ministry. Those things do matter, but in the end you want someone who is going to learn, grit it out and do what it takes to make sure your church is growing disciples of Jesus Christ.
Question: What are other qualities a church should look for in a youth minister during the interview? You can leave a comment by clicking here.