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When You Do Have a Youth Pastor

Don Baker, now pastor of First Evangelical Free Church in Rockford, Illinois, still remembers his first full-time youth minister. Jim joined the staff fresh out of seminary, filled with energy and enthusiasm. He greeted Don the first day with "Hi, Boss—what do you want me to do?"

Baker knew exactly what he wanted, but he did not want to take the time to tell him. After all, he thought, Jim was a seminary graduate; he should already know what needs to be done. So Don told the new youth pastor to go to his office, get on his knees, and ask God.

That is not bad advice; however, it is often a cop-out to avoid personal responsibility. As Baker recalls, "God kept telling Jim to do the dumbest things." And when Baker corrected Jim for not doing what he expected him to do, Baker became painfully aware that he had never really given Jim any direction.1

At a youth pastor's conference in southern California a couple of years ago, I talked with dozens of discouraged youth pastors. The word I kept getting ...

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