A few months back I attended two ministry conferences, and what a difference I saw between them!
One was the Youth Specialties NYWC convention and the other was my denomination’s district prayer conference.
Besides the enormous contrast in ages, I noticed a great deal of differences between the two conferences and the “ministers” who attended.
I really am against over generalizations and stereotyping, yet….
At the district conference, the pastors carried their Bibles, did not laugh at certain jokes, only seemed to talk about theology and church ministry, prayed long and doctrinally soaked prayers, and to be brutally honest, just did not seem to have fun or enjoy their time (in my opinion)
There were other noticeable differences that probably just come with age. The preferred style of worship music and lack of understanding new technology were just two. Can you imagine that some pastors there didn’t even know what a blog was!
I thought to myself “Self, if that is what my future in ministry is going to look like, then I am out”
Also, I wondered if that was what I needed to become in order to fit in and be a “real pastor” one day.
And when do I start wearing loafers and sweaters over cotton shirts?
I like my shorts, baseball hat, zip up sweatshirts and iphone!
OK, now that you think I am bashing pastors, I will admit that when I got to know these men, I learned a great deal from them and found myself challenged and inspired in faith and ministry.
These are wonderful men of God who, although very different from me, have a genuine love for God and love for his Church. This I respect and admire greatly.
Clearly I am not writing about fashion statements, but I do wonder what the next 10-30 years of ministry will look like as the current generation of youth pastors transition out and a new generation phases in.
What will this new generation be like? They are probably the kids with ADHD in your Jr. high group right now. Scary, right?
What roles and expectations will we put on them and what will they think of us when attending a prayer conference in the year 2020?
It is kind of scary to think that we are the next generation of pastors! What will we be like 20 years from now as “Senior pastors”.
Will our humor change?
Will we wear loafers?
Will our youth pastors look at us and think the same things we often think now about our senior pastors?
Obviously, with age comes cultural differences. If we try to act like our high school students or buy certain clothes or trends to fit in, then something is amiss. So, I don’t think our senior pastors need to necessarily like David Crowder, blog, or wear clothes from the GAP.
But I do think there is a need for them to understand where we are coming from, what makes us tick, to give us certain freedom in our ministries, and to understand the importance of mentoring and relational ministry.
20 years from now, we will be old (at least in the eyes of young youth pastors). On the outside, we will probably not fit in or look cool. But youth pastors should feel comfortable in our presence, eager to learn from us, and knowing that we fully support them in whatever God is doing (as crazy as some of their ideas may be!)
Stay tuned for Part 2: Youth Pastors make the best senior pastors.