What does a youth pastor do?

Youth Pastors (who may also have job titles such as Youth Minister, Student Pastor, Youth Director, Youth Ministry Leader, Youth Worker, Young Adult Minister and others) provide spiritual, emotional, and relational guidance to a church’s junior high and senior high youth ministry. They oversee the youth ministry so that teens in the church feel a sense of belonging, are growing in their relationship with God, and are living lives of purpose. The youth pastor will be successful as he/she is committed to Jesus and the mission of the church. Youth ministers are servant leaders who minister to young people and their families. Through building relationships, preaching, and teaching they share the gospel of Jesus Christ in love and truth. The goal for every church or parish is to have a youth program where young people recognize and accept their calling to salvation through Jesus, and through the Holy Spirit grow in spiritual maturity to become servant leaders who are sold out to Jesus.

The youth pastor or student pastor is responsible for building a dynamic church youth ministry program that attracts teens and provides them with a safe place to develop relationships with others and with God. This is the best way to keep youth engaged, which is vital as Barna Group research shows that 59 percent of teens stop being involved in church after age 15.

To develop an effective youth ministry and be known as a great youth pastor, a youth leader will strive for excellence in biblical teaching, counseling/coaching, discipleship, evangelism, community outreach, and creating a fun, accepting youth culture.

A successful youth minister’s strength and encouragement come from their relationship with God, other pastors, and volunteer youth leaders. They habitually practice spiritual disciplines such as prayer, Bible study, meditating on God’s Word, fasting, worship, and others. Their relationships with elders as well as the senior pastor also provide support and accountability.

A youth pastor typically reports to the senior pastor and may work alongside other pastors including an associate pastor, executive pastor, worship pastor, and children’s ministry pastor.

What are other tasks in a youth minister job description?

Here is a list of tasks that may be seen in a youth pastor job description (Some of these tasks include information from the ONET which is a tool from the US Department of Labor for career exploration and job analysis):

-Pray and promote spiritual growth, discipleship, and youth development through teaching, preaching, and studying God’s word.

-Emphasize Christ-centered theology while teaching and preaching.

– Develop a youth ministry program that with the overall mission of the church and congregation.

-Understand what a young person faces in today’s challenging youth culture where kids and teens live much of their life online.

-Oversee and plan youth mission trips and local community outreach and evangelism.

-Along with the church leadership team, set a clear vision of the Christian youth ministry.

-Identify and train volunteer ministry leaders who will help to carry out the mission of the youth program.

-Lead people to faith in Jesus Christ.

-Schedule and coordinate engaging youth events and community service projects.

-Counsel teens and families concerning their spiritual, emotional, or personal needs.

-Develop curriculum for discipleship training and weekly Bible teaching.

-Respond to requests for assistance during emergencies or crises.

-Demonstrate a proficient understanding of social media for promoting junior high and senior high youth ministry events.

While not comprehensive, this list does outline many of the tasks that youth pastors perform. When viewing youth minister or student pastor jobs within online job boards, such as ChurchJobsOnline.com and PastorJobs.Net, you will find that youth pastor job descriptions typically have some unique tasks described, as well.

What are some of the most important skills and personality traits that a youth pastor should have?

A youth minister needs to have proven skills in leadership, event planning, counseling, public speaking, and teaching. The qualities of a youth pastor include being fun-loving, friendly, compassionate, organized, visionary, and have a teachable spirit.

What does the Bible say about the role of a youth pastor?

While the Bible doesn’t specifically talk about the role of a youth minister, it does have lots to say about the role of a pastor and their ministry leaders. The terms that the Bible uses for pastor are “elder,” “overseer” and “teacher.” Timothy 3:1-13 describes the qualifications of an “elder” or “overseer.” The term “elder” in the Bible refers to overseeing believers, and using the skills of preaching, caring, and exercising authority as needed. A youth minister is in a unique position to be an overseer of his/her youth group leading them to salvation through Christ and to follow Jesus with their entire lives.

Churches need to affirm the importance of youth and youth ministry. 1 Timothy 4:12 describes this in saying, “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.” A youth pastor can help teens to grow in their faith and to serve the church as they use the spiritual gifts God has given to them.

How do I know if I am called to be a youth pastor?

Those interested in becoming a youth pastor should have a deep love and knowledge of Scripture and a love for youth and their development. Their prayer life and relationship with God should be strong to be able to hear where God is calling them. They should be gifted in directing youth, teaching, preaching, and leading. These gifts should be acknowledged through feedback from those who have watched him or her work with youth. Their gifts should also be acknowledged by their pastor and other church leaders.

If you are drawn towards being a youth minister, it is important to reality test your decision-making. Most people don’t reality test their career decision-making until after they are in a job. This results in many people falling into jobs that are not a fit for who they are.

Conducting informational interviews is one way to reality test becoming a youth pastor. Informational interviewing is a strategy of talking to people who are in jobs that are of interest to you. It involves asking questions such as “What is a typical week like?”, “What do you like and dislike about your work?” and “What are the steps for success?” Other reality testing steps can include shadowing youth pastors on the job and internships.

To explore whether being a youth pastor would be a good fit, career assessments can also be very helpful. The CareerFitTest.com that we use with clients identifies the user’s transferable, personal, and content skills. It also provides a three-word Holland code that can be linked to different careers.

The Holland code is based on John Holland’s theory which divides all of work into six categories: Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising and Conventional. Most people have two or three of these personality and interest categories that are of much higher interest than the other categories. In addition, jobs are classified by these categories. Your top interest categories will allow you to identify the occupations that correspond best with your skills, interests, and personality.

For a youth pastor, student pastor, or youth director the Holland code typically would be SAE or Social, Artistic, and Enterprising. Here are definitions of these three groups:

The SOCIAL occupational personality type is concerned with people and their welfare. Social types make friends easily and tend to have well-developed communication skills. They enjoy working with groups or individuals, using empathy and an ability to identify and solve problems and tend to be high achievers and good leaders.

The Social personality type has an interest in helping other people one-on-one or groups of people. They want to help people by using empathy and by using their ability to identify and solve social welfare problems.

Sample careers: education, ministry, social welfare, counseling, customer service

Sample volunteer activities: teaching classes at church or a nonprofit organization; hosting a neighborhood Bible study; serving in a lay counseling ministry; participating in medical ministry; facilitating small groups or social activities. In general, they enjoy activities that allow them to inform, train, develop, encourage, cure, educate or in some other way help people in a direct way.

Problem Solving: They like to approach and deal with problems through understanding feelings and the use of empathy. They also tend to like a flexible approach to solving problems.

Working Environment:

They like working environments that are supportive, collaborative, helping-oriented, collaborative, and changing.

The keyword for this group is Helper.

The ARTISTIC occupational personality types are the most creative of all the types and tend to focus on self-expression through various forms/mediums: images, materials, music, words, movement, as well as systems and programs. They are able to see possibilities in various settings and are not afraid to experiment with their ideas. They like variety and tend to feel cramped in structured situations.

The artistic personality has a high interest in being creative using physical, verbal or human materials often within the areas of music, art and writing. Overall, this area involves people who like to be creative seeing possibilities in various settings. They are not afraid to try new ideas and they like variety.

Sample career areas: music, art, writing, and drama

Sample volunteer activities: using drama or music in worship or evangelism; writing press releases, articles, curriculum for church or nonprofit organization; using arts and crafts as outreach event; conducting camp to develop artistic abilities of youth; composing and writing music; decorating a home or office; playing a musical instrument; creating artwork

Problem Solving: They like to solve problems independently using their intuition and creativity.

Working Environment: They like working environments that are unstructured, flexible, artistic, and that allow for self-expression.

The keyword for this group is Creative. Senior pastors who are naturally creative are going to be able to more effectively lead, teach and create fun engaging youth ministry programs.

The ENTERPRISING personality enjoys persuading or influencing others usually in a business context. They may also have entrepreneurial and political interests. They enjoy working directly with people one-on-one or in groups. Their emphasis in working with people is to persuade them on ideas, products or services and/or leading or managing people. They are goal-oriented in producing results. They tend to have a high level of energy, are goal-oriented and focus on producing results

Sample career areas: sales, management, leadership, legal, political, and self-employment

Some of the activities they enjoy include: selling/purchasing; convincing/persuading others; giving speeches and presentations; discussing business; developing publicity materials for church or nonprofit organization; raising funds for church or nonprofit; leading a church board or committee

Problem Solving: They like to solve problems with leadership, delegation, and decision-making skills.

Working Environment: They like working environments that are business-oriented, entrepreneurial, competitive, and focused on profits.

The keyword for this group is Persuader. Youth pastors need to be able to effectively persuade, influence, and direct youth.

If you would like to assess your Holland code and also identify your top transferable, personal, and content skills, we recommend completing the Career Fit Test.

Beyond assessments like the Career Fit Test, it is important to ask for honest feedback from trusted friends, family, mentors, and your local church pastor as to whether you would be a good fit for youth pastor jobs. Perhaps there may be other church staff jobs that fit your design. Also, you might be encouraged to explore other ministry jobs or jobs with secular employers.

God calls people into all types of work. He gives us each enthusiasm to meet different needs in the world. There are many men and women who are full-time ministers disguised as accountants, computer programmers, police officers, teachers, sales managers, and administrative assistants. Those working in secular environments have the opportunity to minister to people who have never step foot into a church.

How do I become a youth pastor?

Student ministry jobs often require having worked with youth as a volunteer or in a college internship. In those roles, a person can develop the needed skills and experiences for a youth minister job.

In addition to those types of experiences, many churches seek candidates who have a bachelor’s level education in a related major or a Bible college degree. Different churches and denominations have various requirements for their youth pastor openings. You can learn about requirements by doing research on Indeed.com or by Googling “youth pastor jobs.” By looking at several jobs and their requirements you will have a sense of the consistent requirements that churches seek.

Zippia.com reports that “52.0% of youth pastors have graduated with a bachelor’s degree and 24.2% of people in this position have earned their master’s degrees. While most youth pastors have a college degree, you may find it’s also true that generally it’s possible to be successful in this career with only a high school degree. In fact, our research shows that one out of every eight youth pastors were not college graduates.” Those youth pastors who do attend college, typically earn either a theology degree or a pastoral counseling and specialized ministries degree. A less common education to become a youth pastor include a biblical studies degree or a business degree.”

What are other pastor jobs to consider?

In addition to youth minister or youth director jobs, you may also want to consider how other pastor positions might fit you. Here is a list of some of the other pastor jobs:

Women’s Pastor, Men’s Pastor, Counseling Pastor, Children’s Pastor, Administrative Pastor, Campus Pastor, First Impression Pastor, Building Services Pastor, Children’s Pastor, Foreign Ministries Pastor, Pre-School Pastor, Recreational Pastor, Sports Ministry Pastor, Technologies Pastor, Multi-Media Pastor, Volunteer’s Pastor, Military Pastor/Chaplain, Evangelism Pastor, Outreach Pastor, Student Pastor, Family Ministry Pastor, and Assimilation Pastor.

This article can help you to explore the pastor jobs that best match your personality and interests – What Pastor Jobs Best Fit Your Personality?

What is the job outlook for youth pastors?

If you are a Christian job seeker who is targeting pastor jobs there is good news. In 2019 according to the ONET, there were 243,900 people working as clergy.  The job growth projections for youth ministers are expected to be as fast as the average from 2019-2029 when compared to all occupations.  Those applying for youth pastor openings who have completed an internship, along with having learned leadership and communication skills, will increase their job opportunities.  Often churches will hire summer interns.  Also, there are typically many youth volunteer opportunities.

How much money does a youth pastor make?

According to payscale.com, “an entry-level Youth Pastor with less than 1-year experience can expect to earn an average total compensation (includes tips, bonus, and overtime pay) of $34,247 based on 72 salaries. An early career Youth Pastor with 1-4 years of experience earns an average total compensation of $36,119 based on 750 salaries. A mid-career Youth Pastor with 5-9 years of experience earns an average total compensation of $40,147 based on 554 salaries. An experienced Youth Pastor with 10-19 years of experience earns an average total compensation of $46,986 based on 283 salaries. In their late-career (20 years and higher), employees earn an average total compensation of $51,503.” Salaries can also vary depending on the location and whether a church is a large or small church.

Where can I find youth pastor jobs? What are the best websites for youth minister jobs?

ChurchJobsOnline.com, PastorJobs.Net, ChristianCareerCenter.com, ChurchStaffing.com, ChurchJobs.net, ChurchJobFinder.com, MinistryJobs.com, and YouthSpecialties.com are some of the best sites for finding youth pastor jobs.

Be sure to set up job alerts for different keywords including youth pastor jobs, youth minister jobs, student pastor jobs, youth director jobs, and others. This will allow you to passively track openings that come directly into your email.

One resource for finding youth pastor jobs that is fairly new is Google jobs. Google will show you jobs from many job boards at one time. All you need to do is Google terms such as “youth pastor jobs, or “student pastor jobs.” Google will then show you jobs related to your search. You can even set up job alerts for your searches. Please be aware that Google Jobs does not show Indeed.com jobs.

Online youth pastor job boards are great because they allow people to find jobs of interest very fast. Keep in mind, however, that as many as 80% of jobs are found in the hidden job market meaning that they are not advertised on the Internet job sites. Church search committees fill these positions through people they already know, people that are referred to them or people that contact them at the right time. You can learn more about the hidden job market in the article 16 Tips for Finding the Right Pastor Job Faster.

How can I find other Christian ministry jobs?

If you would like to explore being a staff member at a nonprofit ministry, you can find hundreds of ministry jobs at ChristianJobFair.com. There you can search ministries based on your interests. You can also find ministry jobs at ChristianCareerCenter.com.

What associations and conferences support youth pastors?

A student pastor needs a lot of support to balance the challenges of the job. In addition to denomination headquarters, associations can be helpful for learning more about youth minister pastor jobs, qualifications and openings. Many associations also have conferences that are great for connecting with other youth pastors, networking, refreshing yourself, and gathering resources for a successful youth ministry. Here are some of the top associations and conferences that they hold.

YM360 Clear Conference 

Youth Pastor Summit 

Rooted Ministry

RECHARGE Conference

National Conference on Youth Ministries 

YM Conclave

Ignite Youth Leadership Conference

NW MinCon

Engage Youth Leaders Conference


As we have discussed, the best way to engage teens at church is to have an active, vibrant ministry that focuses on fun and purposeful youth activities. If you are exploring becoming a youth pastor, be sure to use the tools and resources described in this article. Beyond knowing the skills and qualifications needed to become a youth minister, it is important to reality test if God is calling you to be a pastor who works with middle school and/or senior high youth ministry. Reality testing can include informational interviews and shadowing those who are currently working as youth pastors. A youth minister can be a difference-maker as they work with teens helping them to be young people who have a strong enduring faith and are living their calling.


© Article copyright by Kevin Brennfleck and Kay Marie Brennfleck, ChurchJobsOnline.com, PastorJobs.Net, ChristianCareerCenter.com, ChristianJobFair.com, CareerFitTest.com and LiveYourCalling.com.