Adventures in Youth Pastoring: Learning Core Values


As most of my readers know, I serve as youth pastor and its a job that I love.

Being new at it, I love reading books written by current or former youth pastors. Their wisdom and advice has really spurred me on and has helped me handle certain situations. As such, I found myself reading Andy Stanley and Stuart Hall’s book The Seven Checkpoints for Youth Pastors. The central point of the book is to explain that you need core values (check points) to instill into your students. Those core values need to be repeated in whatever curriculum you use to help the students learn them.

They give their seven suggestions and I took the idea and ran with it, developing my own to fit into my local culture. I introduced them to our leadership and then to our students. Every chance I get, I mention the core value we are focusing on.

However, at the end of Summer, my pastor called me into a meeting with him and the chief of staff to evaluate the summer and see what is upcoming for the fall and winter. I told him that I had developed some core values and how well my team and the students received it.

The pastor had approval in his eyes, but then he asked a dreaded question: “Could you write them on the white board for me?” I walked confidently up to the white board, but then it hit me. All but my first two core values were lost in the recesses of my mind. I stood there for too long with the chief of staff finally asking, “Is something wrong?” “No,” I replied, and then they started coming out a little at a time as I wrote them on the board. I managed to get all seven out, but it was still embarrassing that I took so long.

It occurred me to then, that I needed to learn the core values I wanted the teens to learn. I realized that if I wanted to instill it into the students, I had to instill into myself. Why would the core values be important to them if they aren’t important enough to me. Now, I have our Core Values taped to my cubicle and on my refrigerator so that I can remember them. Those are core values that are important to the youth ministry I am overseeing.

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