Intersection of Life and Faith

10 Questions Every Parent Should Ask Their Youth Pastor

  • Rhonda Stoppe Speaker and Author
10 Questions Every Parent Should Ask Their Youth Pastor

When I first started working on this article, I focused on how parents could learn more about their youth pastor to sort of help them feel comfortable with the person who would be teaching their teens.

However, as I pondered the idea, my heart began to break with a deep burden for those who God has called to guide our teens to follow Christ––amidst a culture shift like none of us have ever seen before. Have you ever considered the important role your youth pastor has in raising up the next generation of warriors for Christ?

That being said, I’d love to help you come alongside of these people who are brave enough to cross generational boundaries and reach into the lives of our teens. Ready to learn more? Good! With that in mind, let’s look at 10 questions every parent should ask their youth pastor.

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  • 1. What is your testimony?

    1. What is your testimony?

    Slide 1 of 10

    It’s interesting how many parents of teens (and often the majority of a church congregation) are under the impression that the youth pastor’s job is to keep kids so busy with fun activities that it keeps them from making wrong choices. While a youth pastor’s job does come with lots of super fun activities, a good youth pastor will know his own story of redemption––and he will long to share that same hope with his students. 

    Be careful not to look only for the “fun guy” to be your youth pastor. While kids may be drawn to the high energy guy with the spiked hair and strategically placed holes in his jeans, what they really need is someone who is passionately in love with Jesus and desires to teach Truth from the Bible to draw your kids to a true relationship with Jesus. If a spiritually shallow leader falls, it causes many students to stumble.

    Photo credit: ©Thinkstock/GordonImages

  • 1. What is your testimony?

    2. What are your ministry goals?

    Slide 2 of 10

    In the 18 years my husband and I were in youth ministry, we were often asked, “What are your goals?” Many churches tend to believe that “programs” are the answer to successful ministries. Consider my husband's effective philosophy of ministry: “Our goal is to teach your kids to love Jesus with all their being, by showing them how to truly repent of their sins and follow Jesus completely.”

    While programs show a measure of success, we preferred they follow what Jesus said is life’s priority: “Thou shalt love the Lord with all your heart…soul…mind…and…strength” (Mark 12:30). Realizing the way to teach students to love God like that will only come when they see a genuine example of their leaders loving Him with total abandon. Remember, Jesus said, “The student will be like his teacher” (Luke 6:40) so be sure the character of the one teaching your teens draws them to a deeper love for Christ.

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  • 1. What is your testimony?

    3. How can we pray for you?

    Slide 3 of 10

    When we planted a church in Texas, we opened our home for youth group. Every Wednesday night my husband made hot dogs to feed over 200 teens (in youth ministry, if you feed them they will come). Each week there were so many new kids, Steve and I had a hard time keeping up with their names. Aware of the Lord’s incredible work in drawing so many to Christ, Steve and I went to the prayer warriors in our church to ask them to commit to pray.

    Each week this prayer team faithfully prayed for God to bring to us the teens He was drawing to Christ. And draw them He did. One by one these junior and high school students were realizing their need to repent of their sins and turn to Jesus as their only hope of Salvation. 

    James 5:16 promises, “The effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous one accomplishes much.” Realize that Satan wants to steal and destroy this generation, but God is greater than he that is in the world and your youth pastor is in the forefront of the battle to rescue them. You would do well to join him in praying like you’ve never prayed before!

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  • 1. What is your testimony?

    4. What can we do to help you?

    Slide 4 of 10

    Working with teens is a glorious, exhausting, exciting and heartbreaking experience––all at the same time. While one student surrenders his heart to Jesus, another turns to a lifestyle that dishonors Christ. When a week of youth camp is crowned with incredible worship, brokenness over sin, and heartfelt commitment to follow Jesus, the following week may be met with a teen suicide, or other painful consequences from a student’s rebellion. (We’ve been there. Working with youth is seriously the craziest roller coaster of emotions I’ve ever experienced!)

    For us, having a team of youth workers was vital to the success of our efforts to reach and train teens for Christ. My husband’s philosophy of ministry has always been, “I’m here to work myself out of a job.” While this may sound strange, realize that the job of the church is to edify the body to do what God has gifted each to do. 

    When leaders faithfully build a ministry team, they are able to reach and minister to a variety of people who are looking for someone with whom they can connect. (Note: If you’re not led to work with teens, your generous financial assistance will help in ways you can’t imagine.)

    Photo credit: ©Thinkstock/digitalskillet

  • 1. What is your testimony?

    5. What is your screening process for leaders?

    Slide 5 of 10

    We just talked about the need to build a good team in youth ministry. Along with that comes discernment to ask God to give your youth pastor wisdom to select his team. While it may be tempting to accept any and every person who volunteers to work with teens, a wise leader will prayerfully consider each person, asking God to show him who He would have help with their ministry.

    We’ve all heard of the youth leader who ends up being inappropriate with one of his students. This is a heartbreaking development that must be guarded against at all costs. If the youth leaders consist of college students, youth pastors should make clear their no dating teens policy. The church should also provide the resources needed for a background check on every person who will be working with children.

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  • 1. What is your testimony?

    6. What can I do to help my child grow spiritually?

    Slide 6 of 10

    Be the parent who cares! Rather than assuming all spiritual instruction for your teen is the responsibility of the church, realize God has first called you to train your children in the way they should go––beginning by your own example. In the years we worked with teens, we found it easier to reach a youth raised by non-believing drug addicts than to break through the hard heart of a teen raised by hypocritical parents who called themselves Christians.

    Your youth pastor will likely have his finger on the spiritual pulse of your teen. If he tells you he is not sure your child is truly saved, rather than becoming offended, take to heart his concern for your child. Remember, true salvation does not consist of simply looking back to when your kid prayed a prayer to “receive Christ”. Genuine salvation will be evident in a transformed life. The Apostle Paul said, “Examine yourself to see if you're of the faith” (2 Corinthians 13:5). Helping your teen evaluate their faith by considering their walk is an important development in their life.

    Photo credit: ©Thinkstock/Kikovic

  • 1. What is your testimony?

    7. How does my child interact with others?

    Slide 7 of 10

    Proverbs 27:17 says, “Iron sharpens iron.” We all know how two pieces of iron colliding causes sparks, yet in the end both are sharpened. In the same way, living in community with other believers will undoubtedly bring friction. 

    It is in these times of friction that God reveals the heart. If your child gets his feelings hurt easily, blames others for his angry outburst, resentment, or gossip, or tends to seek out people of the opposite sex to find their worth, your youth pastor will likely be aware of these characteristics.

    You would be wise to ask for your youth leader’s honest evaluation on how your teen interacts with others and what advice they might give to help you reinforce at home the biblical principles your teen is being taught at church. Don’t pick up offense when your teen vents to you what they dislike about others; rather teach them how to cover offenses with love and forgiveness.

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  • 1. What is your testimony?

    8. Who are your mentors?

    Slide 8 of 10

    All godly disciples have great mentors. While your goal is not to grill your youth pastor to find out to whom they hold themselves accountable, knowing that they are teachable and open to training by godly mentors will bring you a sense of confidence.

    God’s workers are always trained by one who has gone before. Whether or not your youth pastor attended Bible college, their commitment to read books grounded in sound doctrine while seeking wise counsel from godly leaders will be vital to their success in ministry.

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  • 1. What is your testimony?

    9. What is your family's role in your ministry?

    Slide 9 of 10

    In my humble opinion as a pastor’s wife, when God calls a husband to ministry, he calls the wife as well. What that looks like is between the ministry couple and the Lord. For some it will be a more visible team effort, for others the wife may be at home laboring in prayer over her husband’s ministry.

    For ministry marriages, it’s vital that they remember their first ministry is to their spouse and their own children. While it is tempting to allow your youth leader to forsake his family’s needs for the good of the congregation, you would be wise to help him take care first of the spiritual, emotional, and physical needs of his wife and children. 

    Your prayers for his family will go a long way in keeping them safe from Satan’s schemes. (I cannot imagine where my children would be today had it not been for the commitment my husband had to make them his first priority and also for the prayers of the saints.)

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  • 1. What is your testimony?

    10. Can I babysit for you?

    Slide 10 of 10

    You may chuckle at this final point, but as a seasoned ministry wife, let me tell you how much a night alone with a pastor-husband can mean to a couple. Most ministry couples are on a tight budget so the cost of a night out and paying a sitter is a lot. What if you offered to babysit, and maybe even pay for their date? 

    Coming home from an all-nighter or week at camp means tired parents caring for littles. Offer to watch their kids so they can catch up on some much deserved rest.

    Ministry can be a thankless job, so find ways to show gratitude and support to your youth pastor.

    Rhonda Stoppe is the NO REGRETS WOMAN. At her No Regrets Woman Conference, she helps women break free from the regrets that hold them back––beginning with a genuine relationship with Christ. As a pastor’s wife, author, favorite radio guest and speaker, Rhonda’s teaching, grounded in sound doctrine, helps women discover significance and become more influential than they ever dreamed possible. To learn more about Rhonda’s messages visit her at:NoRegretsWoman.com. And connect with Rhonda on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and through her monthly newsletter.

    Rhonda’s books (Harvest House Publishers):

    -Moms Raising Sons to Be Men

    -If My Husband Would Change I’d Be Happy & Myths Wives Believe

    -Real Life Romance

    -The Marriage Mentor (to release 2018)

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