My top 5 most common youth ministry mistakes

My top 5 most common youth ministry mistakes5. Talking publicly about future plans and ideas (because I’m so excited about them!) before they’ve been directed through the proper approval channels.

4. Putting youth leaders in a ministry position before they are trained and passionate about our ministry’s vision.

3. Being late with paperwork that I don’t like to do, but needs to be done in order to help other people’s jobs at the church run smoothly.

2. Not keeping my sr. pastor up-to-date about all the different dynamics that are taking place behind the scenes of the youth ministry.

1. Saying exactly what I’m thinking instead of holding my tongue and running it through some filters first.

What are yours?

Posted on June 10, 2010

  • All of them are so true. :)

  • Letting your sr. pastor into your personal life too much – it blurs the boundaries between boss, pastor and friend. I've learned the hard way to confide in others, even when my sr. pastor wants to be my "pastor" and friend.

    • PJ Wong

      i'd push back on that comment… unless your sr pastor is a tool who sees your position before your face as a human being.

    • Yeah, I would push back here a bit, as well, unless your pastor sees himself more as an authority figure than a pastor.

  • GG'ma B

    You're 'right on the ball'.. as usual…

  • pjski

    Lol, ya, we could have a support group for youth pastors who do those things!

    numbers 5 and 1 were my biggest downfall when I started.

    Number 4 is one that i learned about the hard way a year ago.

    Number 3 isn't so bad anymore since I have good jr and sr high directors that take a share in getting things out.

    2 Has never been an issue. My Sr. pastor and i have a great relationship. We meet monthly to discuss the big stuff going on. Then throughout the week I keep him informed of things he needs to know about.

    Thanks again Tim for your honesty on what mistakes you have made so that we can also learn from them.


  • 1. Not realizing soon enough that being in youth ministry means you minister to others in the church besides youth.

    2. Not making my family the priority it should have been from the beginning.

    3. Wishing I had developed more leaders rather than trying to be The Lone Ranger

    4. Letting my personal relationship with Jesus suffer because of "ministry work"

    5. Learning the art of saying "No" rather than trying to do everything people want.

    • I think #4 and #5 are ones that many youth workers struggle with. Thankfully #5 is more of a strongpoint for me, but probably only because I've learned from people who have horror stories because of it.

  • Great thoughts Tim. It really made me think and look back at how I interact with my students, team, and family. Wrote my own blog post over at Thanks for the challenge.

    • Dude, those are great! Love the transparency there. Good post!

  • Tim,

    I think your #'s 1 and 5 rank in my top five. I would add:

    Overreacting to criticism.

    Being too competitive with my youth during games or events.

    Saying "NO" to things that I know I shouldn't commit to!

    • Yeah, Larry mentioned the "no" word in a comment above, too. Definitely a struggle for people who feel like their job security rests on making people happy rather than helping them become holy.

  • I definitely agree with number one!
    One I would add is not taking care of myself – emotionally, physically, spiritually. It is hard to balance personal life and ministry for sure!
    And I am going to echo the comment about being a lone ranger. The thing is, I'm having a hard figuring out how not to do that!

    Any advice??

    • I think the best way to stop being the lone ranger is to stop saying "yes" to things that other people can do. Don't just say "no" because you're being lazy, but come along side them and help them do what you once did until they can do it own their own.

  • MattFlinner

    Good stuff. I would also add "Trying to be cool" or being the "Rockstar" of the church.

    • But what if you're just naturally cool? ;) j/k I know what you mean.

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