General Ministry
Josh Griffin

Looking to fire your youth pastor? You’ve come to the right place! Did you Google “how to get rid of my youth pastor” and end up here? Awesome, here are three sure-fire ways to make sure they are out the door by the end of the week:

Don’t defend them under any circumstances
They are probably wrong – wait, they are always wrong. Be sure to believe wholeheartedly what that parent said to you instead of saying to them. Leaving them helpless will make sure that you won’t have to deal with their radical new ideas for helping church be more relevant (like updating the 1972 dress code which we hold on to as a symbol of Christian separation). Youth pastors can defend themselves, and they better do it well when you bring them before the holy parent tribunal to explain the damages to the church van last weekend.

Make sure they know they serve you, not God
You’re their boss – make sure they feel their place in this organization every minute of every day. Manage every bit of their time. Heck, ask them to turn in an unsustainable weekly report (in 15-minute increments) just to let them now you don’t trust them in the slightest. Hand them your philosophy of youth ministry from back in the 60s when you were a youth pastor and ask them to run youth group exactly like you did. Make sure the memories of your past successes as a youth worker constantly overshadown any passing success they might be feeling.

Pay them so little they leave on their own
Treat them like you would a servant. They’re cheap and easily replaceable. Who cares about them anyhow?

Invite teenagers into an epic adventure with Jesus. Check out Pierced: The New Testament today!

What am I missing? Leave a comment! And tomorrow I’ll post an article called How to Keep Your Youth Pastor Forever. You won’t want to miss it!


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  • Matt says:

    Remind the youth pastor that it’s all about numbers. Who cares that 30 senior just graduated and only 5 7th graders just entered. All we see is a decrease! They should have planned for that!

  • Brian says:

    Find something to criticize them about at least once a day. It doesn’t matter how good they have done in other areas of ministry. There is always something they need to do and do it better. Never offer any encouragement!

  • Erin says:

    After hearing how great their mission project or weeknight study went, say, “Yeah, but why didn’t you do THIS?” or “Yeah, well, I would have done….”

  • Charlie says:

    Make the former youth minister your direct supervisor. That way, you can ensure all the stuff you used to do will be carried on through the new guy. Also, give them little control over the big stuff, but let them deal with all the classes and minute detail stuff.

    Not that I would know anything about that…

  • Phil says:

    Let the youth pastor know that summer camp is part of his vacation…

  • Scott Tinman says:

    I have experienced parts of these 3 ways…way to go Josh…looking forward to the next post. Fortunately God has provided a great place to serve and blessed by an awesome Pastor to work with and staff.

  • J B says:

    No need to attack the youth pastor…just make life miserable for his family! Make sure he knows how disappointed you are everytime his children misbehave. His wife needs to know how much of a hindrance she is to the ministry, but don’t tell her directly. No, the members of the church should just make comments to her that she couldn’t possibly know how to take and imply that everything she does is never good enough. Finally, let the youth pastor know that mixing work and family is not allowed, so the wife and kids need to stay away from any ministry events you’re paying him for.

    Eventually the youth pastor will get bold enough to stand up for his family and either leave or give you a reason to fire him. Worst case scenario is the youth pastor stays committed to the ministry despite family difficulties, but eventually is disqualified from ministry when his wife leaves him.

    (fortunately I chose my family!)

  • Garth says:

    Let the youth pastor know that his programs are never good enough, the church leadership will overrule and override every decision in public.

  • Sascha says:

    Every time a youth pastor writes a longer eMail to give a detailed description about a plan he has or a process he implements, just write back that you don’t like long eMails. Completely ignore the content of his eMail and only criticize the style of his communication as ineffective. If he keeps asking you about the content, just tell him that you are still waiting for a REAL plan, but don’t tell him precisely what you mean or what you find is missing.

  • Rick G says:

    Back them when they hear God telling them to try something different programmatically and then withdraw that support when number don’t explode. Give the impression that you were never on board to begin with.

  • Brad says:

    Josh, I appreciate the idea behind this article, and I know you didn’t mean to start a complain fest, but gee whiz! What happened to do everything without grumbling or complaining? Or not taking offense? It sounds like there are some here who really need to heal from some past hurts. Working with people is messy, and like the title of your blog suggests, YM is more than dodgeball. We get kicked around and disrespected, but I am fairly sure none of our church boards or lead pastors ever physically nailed us to a cross. Suck it up boys. Stop crying and get back to lifting up Jesus and the good news before your kids.
    Josh, I look forward to the follow-up article. Thanks for your work.

  • Chelsea says:

    When you tell them you need help and are about to quit, pat them on the head and say “I feel for you, hang in there.” Then keep canceling all your followup meetings.

  • Basil says:

    Treating your youth pastor like the general dogsbody is the best way to lose a youth pastor… forever! (sorry, couldn’t resist)

  • Landon says:

    The pastor evaluates you and then makes you write a weekly worksheet due at 8 AM sharp on Sundays. Weekly worksheet tells about everything that you did that week for ministry. (i.e, studying, planning, phone calls, e-mails, etc)

  • Harris says:

    Treat their difficulties and sufferings as whining and dismiss their real feelings based off of a scripture taken out of context…I hope Brad reads this

  • Bill says:

    Let them have a Bog so all the youth Pastors can whine on it

  • Kevin A says:

    I have been in so many of these places. I just want to encourage each of you. My own experience tells me that there are more tough situations than good ones. I would advise you to seek out a Barnabas (hopefully outside of your current ministry.) You need to find someone who will tell you how good of a job you are doing, because you are! Almost no one understands youth ministry or you, unless they are in the trenches. I have gone through long seasons holding on to the hope that God sees, and that my hard work is not going unnoticed. I know yours is not.

  • Charlie says:

    Hey Brad, I’m not so sure this is a complaining board so much as a way to share some frustrations in ministry. We all seem to be speaking from experience here. Nothing better to talk about than what you know. Imagine what would happen if church leadership ran across some of these things and did some self evaluating when it comes to youth pastors (and other ministry areas, for that matter). The sad truth is that some youth ministers DO get kicked around disrespected, and that should never happen. If you are serving in a community of believers and are a part of a leadership team, you should be treated as an equal partner, not just “the youth guy.”

  • Scott says:

    deflect all of the problems you have with your family onto the youth pastors and claim that they are the ones making your job harder. Then fire them right after youth group and tell the church they were let go because they were burned out. Thank God for His promise to make the bad turn into good. And thank God for the Senior Pastors that truly understand the importance of the youth ministry.

  • Philip Long says:

    Josh, I love your humor, and have finally stumbled upon your blog. Its really good stuff.
    I have one more for you: the power of the SHUN. Shun them. Ask them how many kids are showing up to youth group, and then say “Hmm.” Never offer up your home. Never introduce yourself. And never ever have them over. They work with youth for crying out-loud. Oh and if you do ever get into conversation with them, ask them what their plans are for the future AKA “When are you going to get a real job?” (Obviously, I’ve experienced the power of the SHUN). http://www.philip-bloggled.blogspot.com

  • Derek says:

    Oh my word. I actually had to do the time reports at my first assignment. So glad those days are gone.

  • crystal says:

    Can I please chime in? Pay them $50 dollars a week to compensate for them having to quit their second “real” job to do youth ministry for free. Then, tell them in a meeting that they are not really dedicated. Then raise your voice and yell at them for presenting new ideas…and to top it off…end the conversation with a “what are you going to do now…cry?”. And all of this after the youth group size had tripled in a matter of months… and the senior pastor is purchasing huge pick-ups with jacked up rims and tires and going to Disney World. Thanks, I feel better. And thanks to everyone who chimed in…it just helps me to realize I wasn’t alone! Jer 29:11 right?

  • Ed says:

    Make sure you make fun of him from the pulpit too. Nothing over the top, but just a few little jabs to remind him and the congregation that you’re the TOP DOG! Oh yeah and flirt with his wife even though you’re old enough to be her grandpa. Oh yeah, then get mad at him for wanting to go to Seminary.
    Signed, Wish I was Lying

  • Sean says:

    Or completely lie to parents about the youth leader anytime they complain, and make sure that the parents know that its the youth leaders fault we can’t go on a retreat when you want them to come to church and sit around all day. Or you could constantly talk behind the back of said youth leader, act like you like him and make him both jr/sr high ministry then when you tell him that you don’t think its working out and want to put him just with jr high, (because your wife who all but one of the students hate, was so much better), but when he gets sick and literally can’t drive the hour down to church because he is doubled over in pain tell him to take a few days off, then the next day ask why weren’t you at our meeting yesterday? I need you to communicate with me, ooh and then a week later when he sends in his resignation beg that you can have a month more to trample him into the ground.

    Of course all of that went down in January last year (when I’d already had other issues with the HP since I started there.

  • mello says:

    Post his job in the paper, don’t tell him and let him see it when he gets back from summer camp.

  • taylor says:

    Fart when you walk by his office…

  • Mariah says:

    Love the comment about the summer camp as vacation!

  • Lucas says:

    Remind him or her that a 5 minute devotional, not 60 minutes, is all our youth can handle with all of the pressures of the world. They don’t need to be bogged down with practical bible lessons, just tell them Jesus loves them, the bible tells them so, and feed them pizza. Then on the one night he does a quick 5 minute devotional, scold him for watering down the message.

  • Tony says:

    tell them that they don’t want a relationship with you and don’t respect you as a pastor. Then in the follow-up meeting, tell them the reason you are okay with your statement is because you don’t believe they are called into youth ministry.

    yep, just happened in the past 6 months.

  • Compare how other youth pastors in town are doing, and point out how all their stuff is right and you should be more like them…
    That would suck…

  • Parker says:

    It seems like a lot of people commenting on this page just want to get even with the youth pastor for doing a bad job at their church. I hear more revenge than grace here on the this page such as “Make sure you make fun of him from the pulpit too” as said by Ed or “constantly talk behind the back of said youth leader, act like you like him and make him both jr/sr high ministry” by Sean.

    As Christians we are supposed to be demonstrating a spirit of meekness not a revengeful spirit towards people. Meekness is one of the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) – qualities that we must possess if we are led by the Spirit. A non-believer may stumble onto this site and look at the comments and say “These people call themselves Christians? Look at the way they treat each other!” As Christians we are supposed to be a salt to earth (Matt. 5:13) and a light to the world (Matt 5:14) with our words and actions. God commands us to do this in Ephesians 4:29, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Let’s try to demonstrate that better by the way we talk about our youth pastors on this page instead of slandering them.

    If a youth pastor did a bad job in your church, just have a private meeting alone with the church leadership and the youth pastor (no need to humiliate him in front of the church congregation) and tell him nicely that your goals and his goals do not match, show him what areas he made a mistake in, and last encourage him to find another youth pastor position at another church. See there is a better way of addressing youth pastor you want to fire without having all kinds of slanderous thoughts and intentions influencing all of you.

    • Matt says:

      Hi Parker,
      You are absolutely correct in wanting youth pastors to be treated with respect and kindness, however, I think you may have missed what others are doing here. The author wrote this piece as sarcasm/satire. I’m not sure if the intent was to encourage better treatment of youth pastors or to lament the way he was treated in the past, but I’m confident that he and the commentors are not advocating the actual practice of these ideas. Unfortunately, some churches do often treat their youth pastors in this manner to some extent. Perhaps seeing these ideas presented in this manner can bring attention to the foolishness of this type of behavior.

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