Youth pastors primarily work in churches although they can find employment with organizations and companies that cater to youth. Their primary role is to guide and teach youth according to biblical standards. Although they also interact and work with adults, youth pastors must be comfortable spending time with children of all ages.
Youth pastors provide spiritual leadership to children and adolescents. They may lead and train youth ministry workers and be in charge of youth services in their church. They may plan youth programs and activities and be responsible for the youth ministry budget and raising funds. Usually, the youth pastor is responsible for carrying out the senior pastor's vision for the church through the youth ministry.
Youth pastors must possess a variety of skills. They must be able to effectively study the Bible, so they are prepared to preach, teach and counsel from it. They must have good interpersonal and communication skills, as they must communicate with a variety of people, including pastors, youth, parents and community members. They must be comfortable speaking in public and in small group settings. Since they may have several responsibilities, youth pastors must have sharp organizational and time management skills
Youth pastors are expected to live lives of integrity and to practice in their own life the spiritual principles and behavior they advocate to youth. In addition, they must be flexible and willing to work when needed.
Education requirements to secure a youth pastor position vary. Some churches prefer to hire candidates with a college degree, but that level of education is not necessarily a requirement. Common areas of study for those who do possess a bachelor's or master's degree include theology, biblical studies, youth ministry and religious studies. Some churches expect their youth pastor to take courses and workshops while holding the youth pastor position.
Youth pastors' salaries vary according to education, experience, employers and location. According to the PayScale website, as of May 2010, youth pastors earned average salaries ranging from $24,992 to $40,829. A youth pastor with more than 20 years of experience may earn over $50,000 annually, according to the PayScale report. Some youth pastors receive medical benefits. In addition, some youth pastors volunteer their services.
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