Home > NYWC, PC(USA), Youth Ministry > NYWC II – An Incredible Story

NYWC II – An Incredible Story

Last night I was visiting with some of the thousands of youth workers gathered here in Charlotte and one of the people in the group told a story that I found unbelieveable and sad.

He told us he works in a PC(USA) church and last week his pastor called him in to his office and asked him when he was going to “grow up”, go to seminary, and get into “real ministry” and become a “real pastor”


I, for some reason, feel a special place to comment on this – because I am on the verge of crossing the line into the “ordained” world of the PC(USA) – and for the last five months I’ve been treated by my senior pastor and others at the church as a “real pastor” (not my terminology).

So – are you kidding me?  I’m a product of the PC(USA) system, I’ve jumped through all the hoops and cleared all the hurdles and I loved my time in seminary and learned an absolute ton a lot of which has helped me in my work in youth ministry.  And, there are a some huge benefits to being ordained.  So please don’t think I’m criticizing “ordination” or seminary in any way.

But… this type of attitude is one of the reasons that youth workers burn out so fast – when you own boss is basically saying “what you’re doing isn’t real ministry” and you need to through seminary to be a real pastor is just awful.  (I should add, in further conversation I discovered that this guy had gone to a Christian college and graduated with a degree in student ministries – so he’s trained to be doing what he’s doing)

I’m not sure what can be done to fight this type of attitude.  I hate to make this suggestion but I almost feel that peope who are not ordained but want to serve in PC(USA) churches should have their contract approved by the Committee on Ministry (if you’re not PC(USA) this might make no sense but its basically a regional committee that approved the calls of pastors).  Anything to offer some sort of validation to their important roles in ministry.

Any other ideas???

Categories: NYWC, PC(USA), Youth Ministry
  1. December 3, 2006 at 3:42 am

    It’s a blessing to be reading your thoughts about the NYWC – part of me wishes I could be there with you all! As for getting congregations and other pastors to take youth pastors more seriously, I think it’ll require a lot bigger change in the mentality of the congregation. One small suggestion I’d give is that youth pastors need to regularly have a larger role in worship on Sunday mornings, including preaching, thus displaying a connection to the so-called “real” ministry and letting the congregation know that they’re a lot more than babysitters. Having a congregation that’s willing to be intergenerational in worship couldn’t hurt, either, but I have no idea how to make that come about. . . . Have a great rest of your time there and say hi to Sean for me!

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