Before discussing the role of a youth pastor/minister, it is important to first discuss the qualifications. Generally speaking, anything said about the role of bishop/overseer should be applied to any other church leadership position, including youth pastor/minister. Therefore, the biblical qualifications for a youth pastor/minister are found in 1 Timothy 3:1-13 and Titus 1:6-9. The youth pastor/minister must be above reproach, the husband of one wife (if married), temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money, managing his own family well, having obedient, respectful children, not a recent convert, and having a good reputation with outsiders.
The position of youth minister/youth pastor is not explicitly mentioned in Scripture. It has developed over the years as churches have become especially cognizant of the need to disciple and nurture young people, particularly teens. Since the 1960s, the pressures on teens from societal and cultural influences have become so enormous that the role of youth pastor and the development of youth departments in churches have become strongly emphasized. At the same time, the spiritual needs of youth are no different from the needs of adults (although the approach to meeting those needs may differ). Young people need the “pure spiritual milk” that will enable them to grow into mature Christians, and youth leaders must use the Word of God to teach, rebuke, correct and train in righteousness so that those in their care “may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
Studies consistently show that if a person does not come to faith in Christ at an early age, and/or is not instructed in the Christian faith while in the formative years, it becomes dramatically less likely that he/she will come to faith in Christ and/or spiritual maturity as an adult. While a youth pastor/minister should not be seen as replacing the parents as a child’s primary spiritual influence, having a godly, loving, and caring youth pastor/minister can have a tremendous spiritual impact. Perhaps 1 Timothy 4:12 applies equally to youth pastors/ministers and to the young people they are shepherding: “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.”