"For Those Who Are Passionate About Reaching The Younger Generation"

Youth Ministry Topics The Priority of Youth Ministry

Promote Youth Ministry

Ted Haggard

Youth pastors work on the front lines of all that is cutting-edge
in American culture.

IN THE LAST YEAR, AMERICA HAS HAD ONE WAKE-UP call after another: Terror in our high schools. Controversy and shame in Washington. Witchcraft on our military bases. Riots and rape at summer concerts. With daily newspaper headlines detailing one travesty after another, Christians across the country are scurrying to find the right response to the volatile state of America.

Should we propose more legislation? Should we engage in large public prayer efforts? Should we get our voice into the press? Should we plant more churches? Should we preach the gospel more fervently?

Christians from coast to coast have developed fantastic responses, both nationally and locally, to various events in America. But sometimes those responses are just a reaction to a single problem, and long-term effects are unseen.

If we are to truly impact America for the cause of Christ, we need to do more than just react to individual problems, school and church shootings, and kids killing kids. If we are truly going to see this country turn to God, there is one fundamental thing we need to do with utmost attention and sincere devotion.

We must empower our youth pastors.

Youth pastors work at the epicenter of American culture. They are on the front lines of all that is cutting edge, all that is new, all that is foreshadowing and shaping the future course of America.

Relationally, spiritually and financially, we should be giving our youth pastors the best of what we have.

Youth pastors are the hardest working people in the local church, they have the best ideas, and they often have the loudest, most accessible voices in the community. Their reach goes beyond the four church walls. They touch high schools, junior high schools, coffee shops, malls, parties, parks and virtually every hangout in the community. They speak directly into the most mobile group of people in town. Thus, they have one of the greatest potentials for impact on a large scale.

In our congregation, we have three of the best youth workers in the country. (And, no, you can't have them!) John, Brad and Christopher minister to hundreds of students every week, and they are making a noticeable difference in the climate of our city. I trust them implicitly, and our genuine friendships with one another help keep us sharp, focused and creative.

Because I know that they are the ones who can truly minister to our city, I maintain a few standards for how I treat them:

1. I love them and am concerned for their good.

2. I go out and have fun with them, doing whatever we love to do.

3. I protect their lives by helping them have enough time for family and friends.

4. I keep them on my same pay scale.and look for ways to bless them.

5. I give them lots of opportunities to try new things, for better or worse. If they fail, I coach them a little bit, but I keep delivering freedom and opportunity. They are at their best when they can use their own ideas and have plenty of resources to make things happen.

Simply put, if we empower our youth pastors to succeed, we might actually win this country for Christ.


Ted Haggard pastors New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He is the co-author with John Bolin of Confident Parent/ Exceptional Teenagers.


This article was first printed on page 25 of the November/December issue of Ministries Today, of which Ted Haggard is Senior Editorial Adviser.