9 questions to ask before a youth pastor audition

If there’s a seasonality to hiring in the church world, it’s now. Churches work hard during the spring and summer months to ensure that they have a full staff in place before the program year begins in the fall.

A common part of the interview process for youth workers is something akin to an audition, when churches invite a candidate to lead or teach a regular youth gathering. Of course, such a situation is nerve-wracking for all-involved. I know, I talked to one pastor friend earlier this week who’s preparing for such an interview.

To help alleviate some of your anxiety, when you’re invited to audition for a youth pastor gig, take time to find out as much as you can ahead of time. Here are nine good questions to ask before you audition for your new youth pastor role:

1. How long is the gathering? Get the basics out of the way first. In order to adequately prepare for your gathering, you need to know how long it is. If you walk in with 15 minutes of material for a 90-minute gathering, you’re sunk.

2. What are the students used to doing? The students you encounter during your audition will have expectations of you; The only question is whether or not you’ll be aware of them. With rare exception, you are following SOMEONE who did something during a youth gathering. If you go in prepared to lead 30 minutes of high-energy games for a group used to beginning with worship, teens will be disappointed because no matter how great your games are, it’s not what they’re expecting.

3. Am I responsible for the entire gathering or just a portion of it? Churches audition youth workers in different ways. Some expect candidates to lead an entire gathering. Others expect you to serve as a guest speaker who shares a short message.

4. How many students attend? The size of a group affects pretty much everything you do – from what games you play to how you worship to how you teach. You’ll plan very differently for a room of six students than you will for a room of 50.

Read the rest of this article here. 

Jen Bradbury on Youth Ministry

Jen serves as the director of youth ministry at Faith Lutheran Church in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. A veteran youth worker, Jen holds an MA in Youth Ministry Leadership from Huntington University. Jen is the author of The Jesus Gap: What Teens Actually Believe about Jesus (The Youth Cartel), The Real Jesus (The Youth Cartel), Unleashing the Hidden Potential of Your Student Leaders (Abingdon), and the forthcoming A Mission That Matters (Abingdon). Her writing has also appeared in YouthWorker Journal, Immerse, and The Christian Century. Jen is also the Assistant Director of Arbor Research Group where she has led many national studies. When not doing ministry or research, she and her husband, Doug, and daughter, Hope, can be found traveling and enjoying life together.

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