Unfortunately this is a very common trait of many youth ministries. When a youth church operates this way, they are really nothing more than a para-church organization. Essentially they are communicating to the church they’re supposedly a part of, “You exist to serve our needs.”
There are many reasons youth pastors fall into the trap of running ministry that doesn’t line up with the Senior Pastor. Some don’t believe in the vision their senior leader has for the church. So instead of finding a place where they do believe in the direction of the leader and align the youth ministry accordingly they simply collect their paycheck and act independently. This passive aggressive approach to leadership cannot be kept from students and soon they begin to detect the undercurrent. What’s worse, youth leaders are faced with the inevitable truth that we reproduce who we are, not necessarily what we’ve taught. You may have been teaching obedience, but you’ve modeled rebellion.
Still other youth ministries operate independently of the church because the youth pastor is not sure of the direction he/she is actually leading. They may align ministry for a season, but as soon as a the winds of change bring a new idea along the ministry is blown in that direction. Quite frankly, I’ve struggled in this area myself from time to time. I think it may be a simple matter of not knowing exactly what it was God had in mind for our youth ministry. Exercises like this one, where I carefully consider what God is speaking to me are helpful. Then I can take it and align it with my church’s vision. God loves Unity.
At Fairwood Church I enjoy how all of our ministries are in alignment. On a given Sunday, you could walk through the toddlers, preschool, elementary, and youth meetings and find that they are in line with the teaching of “big church.” Each leader of these different areas has a unique style to them, but they’re all teaching the same core values. As a church we have decided we are stronger when we are united and worker in alignment.
…the Youth Church I see leads and serves Fairwood Church by example. Students are marked by their devotion and service to the church as a whole. I see a youth church that acts as the pace setters for the rest of the body.
Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity. (1 Timothy 4:12)