youth worker, youth ministry, student ministry, friction

Friction Between Youth Pastors and Senior Pastors

By Doug Franklin April 14, 2010

Welcome a guest blogger

I think one key element that causes friction between student pastors and senior pastors is a misunderstanding or lack thereof regarding each other’s strengths / weaknesses. I think there are a lot of leaders who lead with an expectation that everyone else should lead as they do. Or, as I have heard it put before…”your weakness can become your strengths overused.” I would bet that most senior pastors are interested in understanding how they can help their staff work more efficiently. Unfortunately, I think the motive behind efficiency is sometimes the “bigger is better” mentality. We usually stereotype and become rigid when we don’t fully understand how to manage ourselves rightly first!

I have a friend / mentor whose personal mission statement reads like this. “Committed to leading myself well so that I properly steward the life that has been given to me.” I really connect with this statement! When I am committed to leading myself well first, I have even more confidence in leading others well. I approach situations differently! I seek to understand before being understood. I’m not too good at this unfortunately. As a strategic thinking influencer, I usually want to power my point through with passion…only to find that there are people lying in the dust of my strengths! My strengths have become my weaknesses.

I recently read the book TRIBES by Seth Godin which I highly, highly recommend (thanks Doug!). Every page is full of insightful leadership realities. One of the topics is “Leaders help increase the effectiveness of the TRIBE and its members by:

(1) transforming the shared interest into a passionate goal and desire for change

(2)providing tools to allow members to tighten their communications

(3)leveraging the tribe to allow it to grow and gain new members

He goes on to say, “most leaders focus only on the third tactic. A bigger tribe somehow equals a better tribe. In fact, the first two tactics almost always lead to more impact. Every action you take as a leader can affect these three elements, and the challenge is to figure out which one to maximize.”

I wonder if shared interest could include a commitment to understanding each other’s gifts?

I also wonder if providing tools in understanding each other would tighten or shrink the great divide of stereotyping that so often happens between the senior pastor and student pastor.

Maybe we should spend less time trying to change each other, and more time leveraging the team to grow and mature with the understanding that CHRIST is the head…we are the body. If we want to be the body, we better start paying more attention to our own personal stewardship! It will not only lead to a better understanding of ourselves, but the
ability to see the beauty of difference in others.

About the Author

Doug Franklin

Doug Franklin is the president of LeaderTreks, an innovative leadership development organization focusing on students and youth workers. Doug and his wife, Angie, live in West Chicago, Illinois. They don’t have any kids, but they have 2 dogs that think they are children. Diesel and Penelope are Weimaraners  who never leave their side. Doug grew up in…  Read More