When God called me to be a Youth Pastor He said, “I have promoted you to the position of Youth Pastor!” I thought to myself, promoted? How so? God responded, “A long time ago I brought Jesus Christ, my Son, into the world THROUGH a teenager named, Mary……by way of the Holy Spirit. I NEVER CHANGE! I still desire to bring Jesus Christ into the world THROUGH teenagers……by way of the Holy Spirit!”
When He said that to me, I knew I was in one of His most prized positions. To this day I still have the heart of a youth pastor in everything I do. And that’s why I want to do whatever I can to help other youth pastors and youth leaders.
In the natural realm…. babies are the result when a man and his wife are intimate BEHIND CLOSED DOORS. But, in the spiritual realm……. disciples are the result when someone has an intimate relationship with God, BEHIND CLOSED DOORS. (Matt. 6:6) The best way to grow a youth group is for the youth pastor (and their leaders) to have a personal, focused, private, one-on-one, intimate relationship with God every day. We all reproduce after our own kind. If a youth pastor/leader is not satisfied with “the fruit” they’ve produced, they can’t blame the youth until they have first examined their own relationship with God.
Once they begin, and continue, having an intimate relationship with God, they are ready for the next step. Pastor Al Jandl, taught me a life-changing leadership concept when I became the youth pastor. He told me, “Kevin, I want you to work yourself OUT of a job.” What? He told me to train up other people who could take my place and do my job. I thought to myself, “Why in the world would I want to do that?” He explained by saying, “If you’re the only one that can do what you do, then God can never expand your ministry. He can’t promote you if you haven’t trained someone else to take your place.” I got it! And to this day I still use that concept….and I tell others to apply it to their life of leadership as well.
Way back in the early days of my “no experience with teens” version of a youth pastor….me and my wife, Margie, Rod Anderson, and eventually Shana when she married Rod, were able to build a team of 25 adult and young adult youth workers. God blessed us with the most committed people I could ever desire. Over those 12 years the majority of them were with me over 8 years; unheard of when it comes to volunteer youth workers. They did everything, and I mean everything. From sports games to graduations and birthdays to mission trips, they were the glue that kept the students stuck to the Kingdom of God. Plus, they carried the baton of “working yourself out of a job” into our youth, who eventually became more youth workers and even youth pastors. And as I write this, at the age of 55, myself, my wife, and those leaders are STILL in contact with the vast majority of the students of Destiny Youth Group. All glory to God!
So, after their relationship with God, the first thing I tell every youth pastor is, “Your job is NOT to reach the youth….your job is to seek out, reach out, and TRAIN UP LEADERS (young and older) that will love the youth as much as you do. Why? Because I’m pretty sure God wouldn’t drop off His children at a facility that is short on leaders who could love and care about each person.” Never forget that.
Pastor Kevin Kinchen