It seems as though most Youth Pastor’s feel like at one point or another someone assumes their job is the equivalent of a day care provider for teens. I know I have, and I know many others have.
I guess thats why I found it so amusing last night when my wife told me how her coworkers have been asking so many questions about what I do for a living because they don’t feel like I really have a job. It was amusing because my wife works at a day care, and so on the one hand, we often have parents who assume were a day care provider for their teens, yet here I have actual day care providers saying I don’t really have a job.
It should be noted, firstly, that none of my wife’s coworkers are Christian, and therefore its hard for them to understand the idea of a “Youth Pastor.” It’s such a foreign idea to them, that it just doesn’t even register.
My wife was kind of taken aback when they asked here these questions as well, and she got home so flustered at all that could come out of her mouth in a way they would understand was that I’m trying to provide an atmosphere to keep kids off drugs and alcohol in the town. She felt so stupid after it came out, but didn’t have another chance to explain to them its so much more than that.
But then last night it kind of ate at me, what is the role of a Youth Pastor. And I mean sure, all of us in youth ministry can come up with something pretty great to say to that pretty quickly. But, to describe it to someone who doesn’t use Christianese or church-talk, how do you explain what you do?
I mean some of the primary functions of a Youth Pastor include things like Mentor and teacher, but we don’t work in a school, so we can’t say “I’m a teacher” and I’m not part of the Big Brother-Big Sister program, so I can’t say thats what I do. A Youth Pastor is also a shepherd, and believe me, we do have sheep in Trenton, but alas, they wouldn’t believe me or understand me if I told them “I’m a shepherd.”
And I know how I would answer this question, and I’ll share it later this week or next week, but how would you answer someone who doesn’t speak Christianese as to what you do? Leave it in the comments, thanks!