My husband and I have been attending a class led by the youth minister at the congregation we attend on Sunday mornings. It's for those who are interested in volunteering/helping/leading the youth group. The class has really been great! It got me thinking about the common misconception of the youth ministers job.
I think that we have always thought of the youth minister as the one who takes care of the kids and makes them behave and takes them on trips and out of our hair for a while; that he should be connecting with every single kid in the youth group on a personal level no matter how big the group is. Basically, he's the guy that does everything. (With the help of his wife, of course.)
Here's the problem. He's only human.
He and his wife have a family of their own to take care of and discipline and spend time with as well! If he is teaching, planning trips, going on trips, taking care of our children, trying to keep them in line, etc., where does that leave his family?
We should re-evaluate what a youth ministers responsibilities are, yes? Yes.
So, should a youth minister be in charge of disciplining your child/teaching them what is right and wrong/ironing out your child to be a model citizen? No! That is YOUR job as a parent. Do NOT go to your youth minister and ask why your child is acting up! That's not what he is there for!
Should a youth minister connect with EVERY child on a personal level no matter how large the group? Absolutely not. He can't! There is no way to get to know every one of your kids and really bond with them! This is why he needs helpers! People like you and me who volunteer their time and get to know a handful of kids and focus our energy on those kids. The youth minister can only handle as much as you and I can. If I get to really know a handful of kids, and you get to know a handful of kids, and he gets to know a handful of kids, and so and so forth, pretty soon every kid will be connected with an adult figure on a deep personal level. They will have some one to look up to and come to when they need advice. Because if all they have is their friends and a youth minister who physically can not get to know them on that deep of a personal level, they will only turn to their friends who only have the maturity and knowledge on the level they have. So, don't leave your youth minister out there alone! Step up and help!
Should a youth minister teach the Bible? Yes!
Should a youth minister spread the gospel? Yes!
Should a youth minister plan trips and go with the kids on trips? Yes!
Should a youth minister make sure to spend quality time with his family and make sure that they have the attention and care that they need? YES!
With all of that being said, if you see your youth minister struggling or kids not getting engaged in the group, maybe this is our problem. Step up and help him out! He can't do everything.
Keep on keeping on. :)