classic job posting for a youth worker

ok, this is painful. funny and painful.

a youth worker sent me this ACTUAL job posting from his denomination’s website. i’ve only modified a few tiny things to keep it anonymous.

Title: Youth Pastor, Part-Time

Responsible for managing three leadership teams for ages 11 years through 22 years old. Will meet with teams on regular basis to pray and plan activities and events.

Must love the Lord God with all your heart, soul and mind and have a passion for young people coming to Jesus. Also, must be a minimum of 25 years old and married with a degree, from seminary or Bible college in biblical studies or currently in seminary or Bible college to obtain a degree. Must have at least one year proven experience as lay person or staff working with youth or must have served as a youth camp counselor or some equal experience for at least one year.

Compensation: $150/week

81 thoughts on “classic job posting for a youth worker”

  1. And they probably expect 20 hours a week – so about $7.50 an hour on the high side. I think McDonald’s pays more and would probably be more appreciative. I think they might have been smarter to say $8,000 yearly salary and count on the applicant not knowing numbers or where a calculator is. Uggh.

  2. Reminds me a lot of those churches of 40 people that are looking for senior minister with 20+ years experience and an M.Div.

  3. i know a lot of urban churches that have youth ministers that they can’t afford to pay at all. and many of the ministers ARE married, with kids, etc. and yet sacrifice their time for their youth. i would imagine many rural churches have the same difficulty.

    the mentioning of the $150 seems more like a slap in the face than the fact that that’s what they would actually pay.

  4. “Hey we’re not asking for much!

    Married, College Graduate, and 25 years old. All for minimum wage salary! What’s the problem?”

    Is ministry ever Part Time?

    As said above another reason to be thankful for my church.

  5. One I saw once had the following qualifications:

    – Male
    – 22-27 yrs. old
    – Single or married without children

    They might as well have added race or height in there as well!

  6. That looks nothing like the exciting job posting I have on my blog! Great church, brilliant students, dedicated volunteers, incredible benefits, and lots of time to goof off! Plus you get to work with me.

  7. Been there, done that. I tend to be more sympathetic to the church in this situation. At least they have identified the need and are doing what they can to address it as best as they can. It could be that $150.00 a week represents a huge step of faith on the part of the church. Would I set the bar so high for $150? Probably not. But hey, why not give ‘er a try?

  8. waht church is that?
    Sounds like my old church…..wait…they didnt pay a darn thing and still wanted those same requirements!

  9. When I read ads like this, words like these come to mind:

    Unrealistic expectations
    Pure stupidity

    Man, this is pathetic.


  10. My first Youth ministry job was 15 – 20 hours a week and I got paid $10 an hour. As a college student, that bought my sunday evening meal. After about 6 months they gave me a raise to $200 a month. I thought that was great, but eventually looked for greener pastures. I could not imagine doing 15 – 20 hours with a family for that amount unless 1) I felt this was a ministry and I just wanted to serve or 2) The church had a plan to raise the amount after a probationary period. I don’t necessarily think this is an awful starting point for someone in college looking for a part time job, but I would think the age and marriage requirements would mean that they have probably had trouble with a young single adult. I would definitely question the motivation. Still it is a very low salary for 2008. Keep in mind my salary at that low level was in 1986. I am SOOOO freakin’ old!

  11. It’s nice to read in your comments that I wasn’t the only one angered by this. I’m still a little bitter about my last church (after two years) I guess.

    Now, after writing and publishing my initial thoughts about this, I’m having second thoughts. In some ways (like my case) it may not completely be the churches fault. The church may want so much and want to pay so little because they don’t see the real value in Youth Ministry.

    For me, thinking back, did I do all I could do and should do to let the church see their “return on investment”. In mine (and too many other) we hide ourselves away in our little part of the church and seldom come out to be seen by the people who decide if you’re valuable or not.

    That’s something learned too late. (I think I will have to write about that next)

  12. Let’s be honest. This isn’t even a great job for a college student.

    And I’m glad to see that others find this as ridiculous as I do… because I’ve been seeing a lot of these in my attempts to find a job in youth ministry.

    Is marriage even a legal job requirement? Good grief…

  13. They would be better off just looking for a volunteer. At least then everybody is clear up front that the person is going to have to have another job, and that certain things are going to have to scheduled around the other job. And the candidate knows that one of the things they are giving up is a (potentially big) chunk of their free time. I’m the volunteer director of our church’s college ministry. I can tell you from experience that it gives me some additional freedom. I can say “I just can’t this week, work is crazy” and everybody understands – both people in the church office and the students. Although I have to admit that sometimes I probably take the whole “what are they going to do, fire me?” attitude a little too far…

  14. Whoever takes this job will have to get a job at Starbucks like me just to make rent. Caramel Macchiato anyone?

  15. High expectations, low compensation. That’s why it takes so long to find someone to fill positions. Did you know there are more jobs available on registered on the YS job bank than there are people’s resumes? Sad. It’s not about the money but if you are in college or you are finished with it, 150 a week isn’t going to cut it for the monthly payment for the school loans.

  16. Goog thing is (kind of) someone will take it. I hope they have a second better job and on that is flexible.

  17. $150/week what more could you ask for…that would get you a tiny little apartment in the dangerous part of town, a bus pass, a gallon of milk, a loaf of bread, and the occassionally candy bar as a treat! As ministers we are suppose to sacrifice, it’s all for the Lord. We shouldn’t ask for so much from the church.

    Ummm…yeah!! And they wonder why ministry has such a quick burn-out and turn-around rate. I really hope this was a really, really, really small church that can’t afford much. Even then, they should just post it as a volunteer position…what they’re basically asking for.

  18. What if we actually required fair pay. Seriously, what if no took any job that did not pay a fair wage. (Remember social Justice????)

  19. The reality is that while it is clearly a ridiculous ad with unrealistic expectations, jobs like this exist because we have transferred the secular job hunting model into the church and made ministry a career path instead of a calling. While youth pastors search for the best “job” with the highest salary; while youth pastors will accept stuff like this just to say they are in full time ministry instead of being willing to serve God for no pay and work outside the church if required – this will go on. Sadly some of the comments here only emphasize that many in youth ministry just don’t get it. I have been on both sides. I am equally disappointed with the arrogance of many in youth ministry (fresh out of college – and already know it all) and the way many senior pastors have no appreciation of the value of youth ministry. It will only be fixed when those in youth ministry stop chasing jobs and start to get a genuine passion to invest into and change a generation – and don’t care where their pay comes from!

  20. The knife cuts both ways. Some people volunteer and put in many hours.

    Before passing judgment it is necessary to know all the facts.

    Having said that, are we called to minister or not. Are we called to sacrifice or not? Are our treasures here or are they their?

  21. Amen. I agree with Lyall. My husband and I are volunteer Jr. High Youth Pastors for a small church. We love it! It’s definitely a calling … and when it is truly a calling, the pay doesn’t matter. My husband can’t wait until he can work full time – pay or no pay. He loves kids!! And isn’t the bottom line, leading kids and youth to Jesus. Fortunately, we have a pastor who appreicates the value of youth and jr. high ministry. We are fortunate.

  22. Easy now on emm. Ok volunteer with a nice christmas bonus would have better described it. But heck its an opportunity to serve our awesome God. I can’t say much thats just short of what I make as a full time youth guy.

  23. I have been a “part-time” youth minister at the same small, modest income church (currently $145K/year budget) for close to 12 years now. For the first two years I was strictly a volunteer. My church decided to begin paying me when I shared with a deacon friend that another church had offered me a paid position along with some other fringe benefits. I would become the first paid youth director in the 100+ years of my church’s history. My salary started out at $100 per week. It is now at $142 per week. I was just informed that for the third year in a row, my salary will remain at that amount. I am married with two very young children and I do have another full-time job. I have a bachelor’s degree, but not in ministry. While I am not exactly unhappy with my ministry pay, sometimes I do wonder what is the norm for someone in a situation like mine. At times I feel guilty for accepting any pay at all for working with our youth, but there are those times when I feel undervalued and unappreciated and perhaps never moreso than recently when I did not receive my normal $50 Christmas bonus despite the church finishing the year in the best financial condition it has been in for a few years now. Am I justified to feel this way or am I losing my focus on what really matters? Any opinions???

  24. Well, how come it’s OK for people in ministry to offer such absolutely negative, even unkind, comments regarding this church and their youth ministry posting? The comments confirm what I’ve been observing about ministry attitudes these days. Money takes precedence over commitment and sacrifice, so often. What do we know about the church and their heart for youth and youth pastors. What do we know about their financial ability. Maybe they’re starting out where they can and they’ll increase when able. After all, they did say Part Time. They realize this person will need a full-time job.

  25. marcella — what gives you the impression this church has a heart for youth ministry? they seem to want to hire someone to do it, and their expectations of that person are a bit at odds with their investment. i’m not saying they have to offer major bucks — i realize many churches can’t afford a well-paid youth pastor. but the job description certainly smells of “hired gun”, with all its qualifiers.

  26. That is called volunteer youth ministry and the church needs to see the value in having all volunteers. Maybe they can pay a YM consultant to come in and show the volunteers how to be effective. For those who get paid well, you are worse off than the guy who is getting $150 because the church sees you as an investment and if you aren’t producing quick results…see ya!

  27. I would love to see job description sometime which includes something like “seeking a someone to shepherd and disciples students in Jesus Christ.” And maybe even “develop a ministry team to assist in the disciple making process.”

  28. Dudes… count your lucky stars! I’m considered quite well paid as a church youth worker here in England and i don’t even get as much as that!

    mind you…. what’s with the married thing?


  29. Having volunteers that run it all is great in theory, but the tendency in that is just having warm bodies. Sometimes they may not have a particular call to that area or gifting, but are there out of obligation or because someone has to do it. Youth ministry isn’t just another program in the church, it’s an important vital part. Youth aren’t the church of the future, they are dealing with things right now, and need nurturing in the faith community. That church in the ad probably has had a ministry run by volunteers, it’s youth probably feel neglected if they are even attending at all. I say that because I was at a church with a youth ministry that had been run by volunteers for years after they let go one of their youth pastors. What the youth articulated to me is that they had felt let down by the church. I think the underlying problem that the posting makes us aware of is that as a whole the “church” (in the universal sense) underestimates the significance of nurturing the youth in it’s care. Like several have said there is no part-time in youth ministry, there isn’t part-time in any ministry. In the same manner we can’t be “part-time” Christians. That ad doesn’t take seriously the call on someone’s life to minister to youth. Furthermore, it’s the youth that get the short end of the deal. The very people the church on the surface is looking to engage, is the very group they end up turning away. Youth can tell whether a congregation cares about them or not. Someone taking that position probably won’t be able to stay long, and the youth will be hurt in the process. Chances are too they are going to be putting some very heavy burden on the person they hire. They are probably expecting them to be the “catalyst” that changes the whole direction the church is going. That is a very unrealistic expectation on anyone.

  30. Mark….. turn up at this place and take the guy out for coffee…. if this is what he/they plan to do with the staff then boy what are the members experiencing….. go mark, go mark, go marrrrrrrrrrrrk! [in a cheerleader style kind of thang §-)

  31. It looks to me like the expectations are just a little high for a part time position. The pay is actually OK if you’re organizing 3 groups, and those groups only meet 3 times a week for an hour, hour and a half. The rest of the time you can work a full time job somewhere else and be “on call” for your youth. Maybe that’s all this church is expecting, in which case I’d lower the “qualifications” a bit. It’s really just one step up from a volunteer position. And to those that commented on the money issue, yeah, it’s not about money and it never should be. But we all have to live, and pay the bills, so a reasonable salary for doing our full-time job in ministry is not un-ordinary or “asking too much.” Besides, as we in ministry all know, the responsibilities almost always outweigh the pay anyways.

  32. With respect Andrew – you really have no right to pass comment on the way the leadership of this church treats their members. You know nothing about the heart of the pastors, the financial situation of the church (money doesn’t grow on trees and many churches are doing it tough) or anything else about them. They are approaching it the wrong way but that is not unusual sadly. If all pastors and churches knew how to approach things then all churches would be growing – but they are not. Sadly comments that drip with arrogance and contempt like some of these comments here don’t help – they just tear the church down further.

  33. It’s good they prefaced their requirements with the need to have a relationship with God or I would have sworn this was a dating service ad!

    Not every church can pay well, grantid. Thank goodness for separation of church and state, though, or ads like this would result in discrimination suits!

  34. Hey gang.. I’m a youth pastor from Australia. The attitude towards Youth Pastors is similar, with abuse and unrealistic expectations. But that’s not with every church – my church is awesome.

    After reading the posts I have two comments:
    Perhaps we should place a higher empahsis on God’s call on our life in considering a position. I understand the money part, but we COULD miss the very thing God has been perparing us for, a great ministry opp…

    That said, I would be asking the church some hard questions and evaluating their attitude to youth ministers and youth ministry. I refuse to put myself & my family in a church that will end in a messy “divorce”…

  35. You mean I could have gotten paid for this? Shoot, some of our regular Sunday volunteers put in more than 20 hours/week between prep time, time before/after classes, other times throughout the week, on the phone or at the kid’s houses, the kid’s games or shows, …When I start getting full of myself I remember that Paul was bivocational, and tents at that. If you’re called, He will make a way for you, that’s for sure.

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