Career Story: Church Youth Director

Church Youth Director

Job Title: Church Youth Director

Type of Company: I organize and lead youth activities at a mainline Protestant church.

Education: BS, Butler University(Indianapolis) •• MPT, Baylor University

Previous Experience: I worked as a physical therapist in the US Army for 10 years until my children were born. I was a stay-at-home mom for 16 years which included extensive church volunteer work. Four years ago I was hired as a church youth director.

Job Tasks: The church offers Sunday morning classes for middle school and high school students. I am responsible for choosing curriculum, assisting volunteer teachers and overseeing the classes. Additionally I teach some classes myself. Middle school and high school youth gather each Sunday evening for two hours for a meal and devotions followed by a fellowship, worship or service activity. These can include preparing a meal for a homeless shelter, doing a Bible study, going bowling, doing yard work for church members who cannot do it themselves, or watching a movie. I oversee one part-time staff person who assists with the Sunday night program and I also oversee adult volunteers who lead many of the activities. In addition I lead some devotions and programs myself. We also conduct two weekend retreats a year and participate in four summer activities with 15-60 youth in each one. I oversee all aspects of these trips including scheduling, transportation, registration as well as the programming for the two retreats.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: Getting to know students and sharing my faith with them is without a doubt the best part of the job. I also thoroughly enjoy the camaraderie of the pastors and other staff members. The worst part is dealing with the huge variety of opinions about activities and scheduling from youth and parents! But we work through that and it's ok in the end most of the time.

Job Tips: I was hired because of my extensive volunteer experience. However, I do not recommend this route. Formal education and training would be very helpful. I strongly encourage younger people to pursue a Christian education or seminary degree, or both if they want to work as a youth director or pastor. It is also vital to have a thorough understanding of youth development.

Additional Thoughts: I think the most important personal qualities are patience, openness to youth, and personal faith. It would be nearly impossible to relate to youth in a church setting without these traits.

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