Although I’ve only been in my current ministry position for a little over a year and a half, I’ve grown to appreciate several things about my Sr. Pastor, John LeVahn (pictured left).
1. Once in a while he visits the youth group for no other reason than to support me and to be available to the kids. Some youth pastors may find this intimidating, but I love it, especially since he does whatever I need just like any other adult leader.
2. Sometimes teenagers will ask pretty deep theological questions, either based on something we discussed in youth group or from what they heard in one of John’s sermons. I love doing my best to answer them, but so does John. He gladly writes responses to the teens’ questions on our youth group website, via email, or in person.
3. Every youth pastor dreams of working with a Sr. Pastor who gives complete freedom and flexibility like John gives me. Everything from the vision and direction of the youth ministry (as it aligns with the church, of course) to programming and big decisions.
4. He understands that my gifts and passions lie in the relational side of youth ministry, so he’s totally cool with me leaving the church office at any time to go be with kids, even if it means I don’t even come in to the office at all! They hired an administrative assistant to help do all the other organizational tasks that I’m not overly-gifted in.
5. Whenever I make mistakes, he always publicly supports me, listens and understands, although later he may pull me into his office privately and say, “What in the world were you thinking?!”
6. Sometimes he makes honest suggestions about changes that he thinks might be best for the youth ministry, but he never tells me I have to do it. If I choose to disregard his advice, there would be no hard feelings or disrespect (although later I might hear a half-joking, “I told you so!”).
7. Whenever I have a question, need advice, input or just need to vent, he is always gladly available, even if I call his cell phone on his day off. If I stop by his office to talk, he immediately stops whatever he’s doing to give me his full attention.
8. When issues arise in the youth ministry, he never blames me or accuses me for any of them. It’s always, “How can we resolve this?” not “You messed up again?!”
9. All throughout Bible college and seminary it was ingrained into me to say “No” often to many of the good opportunities that come as being a leader in a church. John models that and supports my initiative to say “No” to many meetings, ideas and even my attendance at some youth events!
10. The main time I was truly impressed by John was last year when I was sitting in a church board meeting presenting some youth ministry changes I felt were necessary. The board members talked about it long and hard going back and forth between all the different pros and cons. John was very strongly set against my idea, but never did he pull rank or veto the whole plan. In fact, the majority vote from the board was for my proposal and ever since then I’ve not heard a single word from him other than support and a positive attitude for the changes. No bitterness, no resentment, no nothing. (Turns out the changes worked very well for the ministry. Now it’s my turn to say, “I told you so!” lol Just kidding.)
Posted on August 4, 2008