What Role Should Your Pastor Play in Your Faith?


Many expect their pastors and spiritual leaders to do the hard work of faith for them.

Our pastors and other spiritual leaders are not our connection to God. It is critical to understand this important truth, especially when facing the pain caused by a leaving pastor. But if our pastors aren't supposed to hold our faith together for us, what are they supposed to do? What does a biblical approach to ministry and ministers really look like? 

I decided to ask my favorite youth pastor. His name is Jason, and he happens to be my handsome hubby. He's been serving as a full-time youth pastor for over a decade. I told him what I'd been writing about and asked him to outline his biblical responsibilities as a youth pastor. Check it out. 

Jason: What is my biblical responsibility as a youth pastor?

The short answer is found in Mark 12:28–31. 

One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, "Of all the commandments, which is the most important?"

"The most important one," answered Jesus, "is this: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these."

Jesus says the greatest commandment is to love God and the second greatest commandment is to love people. Jesus goes on to say that all other commandments and laws are build on these two.

The value of whatever we do comes down to how we love God and people through whatever it happens to be that we are doing.

So what does that have to do with student ministry? I guess what I am saying is that as a youth pastor, I have the same responsibility in my job as you do in your job. I am called to love God and love people. Now to the real question you had—how do I love God and love people through my job as a youth pastor?

A short list of my responsibilities in youth ministry as I love God and people is:

  • Introduce students to Jesus Christ. I witness to them. I tell them about the great love the Father has for us and encourage them to turn their lives over to Him.
  • Challenge students to grow in their faith by reading their Bibles, praying, and serving.
  • Be someone to talk to with a biblical perspective when things are tough.
  • Encourage students to take on their spiritual growth as their own responsibility. I cannot do the work necessary for them to become mature in the faith.
  • Equip students and adults for ministry. The key is to teach that where they are is not the end goal. They need to become doers of the gospel not just hearers.

A lot of students would like it if my job was to do the growing for them. And that I could do all the Bible reading and praying necessary for them to get by. Many would like it if their pastor was more like a vending machine. You put in a quarter, and you get out whatever it is you think you need at the time. But it is not like that. All we can do is point you in the right direction and challenge you to grow. But your faith must become your own.

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