I received the following email last week:
Subject: new youth pastors and puppy 🙂
We just wanted to say we thought it was wonderful the new youth pastors were introduced to the entire congregation last Sunday. And we absolutely loved the puppy!! You could just sense how much love the wife has to share. We especially liked how much she loved that puppy. We adore our dog, too, and we kiss our puppy on the head all the time! It was wonderful!!!!
Great choice for youth pastors!
This story isn’t about me but about an associate youth pastor, Tim, whom I was recently able to hire at our church. What I want to extract from this email is that Tim suddenly was endeared to our congregation.
Many times in my own experience, and through conversations with other youth pastors, we are always fighting negative perceptions of youth pastors. We’re viewed as rash, unorganized, too spontaneous, young (and therefore dumb), irresponsible, and other negative images that are frequently associated with youth pastors. These stereotypes put upon youth pastors can make it difficult for youth ministry to be effective.
Two weekends ago when Tim and his wife, Melissa, brought their puppy on the stage during our last service, they earned some major points with the dog lovers of our congregation. However cheesy dog lovers may be, it built an instant connection to many members in our church—which is in Fort Collins, Colorado, where dogs are loved almost as much as small children.
My question/observation is how do we as youth pastors build positive connections with our congregation without losing our own identity? Youth ministers must have good reputations with their adult parishioners to maximize effectiveness.
Maybe I should get a dog? Or a baby?
Please share your thoughts and experiences with me: email@example.com.