interesting blog: once a youth pastor

recently, someone sent me a link to this interesting new blog, called once a youth pastor. and i got a nice email from the blogger himself, a guy named tracy waal. tracy wrote:

My purpose is not to prove people wrong, kill a system, attack anyone, institute a new program, or tell people what to do (or to even sell books). I do my best to stay away from those things as they rarely lead anywhere effective. My purpose is to simply get people to think by simply asking questions and pointing to scripture and my (and other’s) experiences.

i’ve followed the blog for a few weeks to see if it’s just a whiney collection of rants, or a way for tracy to vent pain. but it’s neither of those: instead, it’s a great ongoing collection of questions and essays about the kind of ineffectual youth ministry so many are or have been caught in. tracy has posts on why big events don’t work anymore, intergenerational ministry, and a whole host of other topics. really worth the read. start with read this first.

here’s part of an early post called “dissecting youth ministry“:

Have you ever wondered if you were the biggest barrier to your own success?

I have.

I came to realize that some of the things that made me a “good” youth pastor were the very things that kept teenagers from becoming fully committed followers of Christ.

It’s going to take several posts to unpack that last statement. Some of you have no idea what on earth I’m talking about.

There’s a whole list of things expected of a good youth pastor. Creating engaging programs. Planning outreach events. Developing discipling programs. Delivering relevant talks and teachings. Spending relational time with teens. Organizing serving opportunities. Etc. etc. etc.

But what if some of these expectations kept teens from actually growing in Christ? What if it kept them in the “baby Christian” mode?

8 thoughts on “interesting blog: once a youth pastor”

  1. Thanks for posting this! Being at the start of my career in youth ministry, it’s encouraging to see what is effective and what is not.

  2. Thanks for this. It almost seems where I’m at. I resigned because of I think the church (That I love dearly) could use a guy with more energy and passion than myself. Taking a break for now. Man, I’m scared and don’t know what the future holds but know God is in control. Prayers appreciated my friend!

  3. Sometimes only stepping back from something can give the clarity to really see it.

    It is so easy to get caught in any number of youth ministry modes that don’t have much to do with making disciples. I do think that hold true for just about any ministry.

    I just read about a large church in my town that is rebuilding it’s youth program after a long time leader left. They had hired a consulting firm and created focus groups and have an interim team and have made up a list of goals and measurable checkpoints that sound like a business plan. In fact they even compared hiring the consulting firm to hiring a contractor to build a church building. I scratch my head and pray for all of our “programs.”

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