Youth Minister: Job Description & Career Requirements
Youth ministers are responsible for coordinating, leading and serving in children's care, classes and activities of a church congregation. Keep reading to find out how to start a career in youth ministry.
A youth minister coordinates time with children and teens for the purposes of worship, education, volunteer work and community outreach. Youth ministry sometimes involves travel in the form of mission trips to other communities and sometimes other countries. These trips are usually for the purposes of teaching the youth of the congregation to help others in need and to spread the message of the church. A youth minister could be employed by his or her church, school or non-profit religious organization, but might also offer services on a volunteer basis.
Career Outlook for Youth Ministry
According to the BLS, positions for directors of religious activities and education, including youth ministers, were expected to experience an increase of 8% from 2012-2022. In July 2014, PayScale.com reported that most youth ministers earned $16,145-$47,626 per year. Additionally, the majority of those who worked in a youth pastor position had a salary range of $17,997-$49,211. In 2013, the BLS revealed an annual median salary for directors of religious activities and education of $38,160.
Job Requirements for a Career in Youth Ministry
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), church ministry leaders and directors, including youth ministers, usually have a bachelor's degree (www.bls.gov). Though a specific major isn't typically required, several Bible colleges and private schools offer leadership programs with concentrations in youth ministry. Common coursework includes religious studies, child psychology, family studies and communication.
Youth ministry programs often have internship requirements that offer experience under the direction of a pastor or youth minister. Students who enroll in programs without these opportunities can usually volunteer within a church's youth program as a youth group leader, children's choir assistant or daycare provider.
In addition to church doctrine, scriptural teachings and the history and culture of a particular denomination, a successful youth minister should be familiar with youth culture. Keeping current with the trends and issues important to children and teens allows youth ministers to counsel youth in a language that they understand and respect. Leading by example, a youth minister should be devoted and self-disciplined. Youth ministry might also require skills in public speaking and communications.
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