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Jesus said in Matthew 16:18b: “I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” That is NOT the church I am critiquing in THIS post. Instead, I am critiquing American churchianity, the spectator sport of not participating in disciple-making (Matt. 28:18-20) by speaking the truth in love to others (Eph. 4:15-16) to build the real church: the body of Christ!

Where in the Bible is it mandated that the body of Christ have youth pastors? Where is it even suggested?

Is a youth pastor even a biblical concept?

While I have very good friends who are youth pastors, I am not attacking them personally because they are mighty servants of God but I am attacking this idea of youth pastoring.

I know people are getting their blood pressure up just reading this because they have such a child-centered view of the church – that the church must cater to children in order to grow the congregation and to be sure the next generation is saved. But are youth pastors the answer?

Most youth pastors are not teaching doctrine to young people since it would be “too boring” or “too difficult” for them to understand but that is hogwash! I know very young children who can quote Scripture and articulate the Gospel better than most adults! Some of these youth pastors who are selling kids too short end up being glorified baby-sitters and Six Flags chaperones rather than pastors and teachers of the Word.

I heard a youth pastor say recently that his job was not to teach NEW ideas to the youth but simply to REINFORCE what the parents should already be teaching their children about their faith at home. In other words, he was rightly reminding parents that THEY were the youth pastors to their children.

I used to introduce myself (and still do sometimes) as a YOUTH PASTOR of four youth – my four Shaw children. I am their pastor and it’s my job to teach them to know and trust in God. I must pray with them. I must ask them questions and teach them the Word. It’s on my shoulders not someone else’s because it’s my responsibility according to Proverbs 22:6: “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”

I encourage you to do the same. Do not rely on youth pastors – of which there is no such thing in the Bible – but be a responsible parent and train up your children to know Christ.

-Mark (thankful for the many men and women who are serving our youth since so many parents are failing to do so, but wishing that our churches would become more biblical in their approach to child-rearing – for more, buy Addiction-Proof Parenting)