Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Ok, so I'm tossing this out there for input. I need help in how I should deal with the youth minister prior to myself. I was taught that when leaving a church we should leave the church. However the minister prior to myself was never given formal training and so apparently has never been taught this. He still lives in town and commutes to his new position about half an hour away. He comes by the office to chat with the secretary and others he might run into a couple times a month. More than that he is in close contact with one of my Youth workers and for a while there it was causing this guy to stop attending the church in favor of going to the previous minister's new church. The previous minister attends any event such as funerals, weddings, baby showers ... and is keeping his friendships strong with the his former Youth.

This has been a real struggle for me with the Youth and adult leaders because I am having difficulty building relationships with many of them because of the ghost of the former minister that refuses to go away. I have gone back to read my ethics books that say this is not good behavior on his part but none of the books suggest how I should deal with it graciously.

I don't want to burn bridges with this minister but I do need him to realize that he is doing a great deal of harm even if he doesn't see it.

Anyone dealt with this kind of transition issue? Got any ideas? Maybe I should just keep toughing it out, but I've done that for a year now. I would think in that time he should have built up plenty of relationships in his new church to keep him busy. Personally I don't have enough time to keep up with everything here much less here and at a some former ministry so I think he is also cutting his own throat where he is by not letting go.


katdish said...

Ugh! That's pretty tacky. I got nothing. But I'm going to send Jeff a link to this post, because I think he's probably dealt with this kind of thing, too.

Max02 said...

For me, I guess it depends on the circumstances of how he left the first church.

On another hand, convincing your church members to move to his new church is just plain wrong (if that is in fact what he's doing).

Since I've been at what I now call my home church, we have had a number of Youth Ministers. The first was awesome. They were all awesome. But on a scale of coolest, he's the winner. After he left to follow God's call for him and his brother to start a new church in San Antonio, many of us still kept in contact with him. In our case, we consider their church a sister church we helped birth. So, obviously, no hard feelings and no reason to think it bad for someone else to follow them to help plant the church (which happened).

Long story shorter, ties and bonds between youth and Youth pastor can run deep. From spiritual mentor to spiritual father (not as with God, but as the only spiritually human father figure they've ever known).

I know I didn't quite answer your question, but maybe you have a little more insight.

Praying for you.

Nick the Geek said...

I don't think he is intentionally culling from the church, but I could be wrong. The problem is that there is a powerful bond between Youth and Youth pastor and if he continues to be a part of their lives then it makes it nearly impossible for me to ever form that bond.

You stated that the first YP was the most cool but what if he wasn't? What if you only feel that way because he was the first and you formed this really strong relationship with him and by continuing that relationship missed out a little (even a little makes a difference) on your relationship with his successors.

I'm not saying that was a problem but if he lived in town and kept in close contact it would have amplified things significantly.

This is one of those things ministers have to understand when they leave a ministry, their relationship as pastor, mentor, father figure ... has to end so the new minister can form those bonds. It seems harsh but in the long run it is better for everyone.

This is not debatable it is well known. The real question is how should I help the former YP understand this truth?

Max02 said...

For me, I can honestly say he was the coolest, for me, because he was my ONLY youth pastor.

I graduated from high school, went away for a year of college, came back, and started volunteering with the youth team.

After he left, an older cousin of mine, who was being mentored by the first pastor took over. I love my cousin, but he can be very un-cool sometimes.

The next guy, a good friend of mine, came up after the second fell away for personal reasons. Like the second, he's a great friend, but, personally, not as cool.

Remember, I wasn't a youth after that, so it's coming from that perspective.

I see what you mean and what you're asking, now. I've never been to seminary, and, like you said, neither has this previous youth pastor. I didn't know there were "rules" and maybe he doesn't either.

I'm sure you'll hear many things one way or another.

My only advice, keep it real and don't make it seem like you're attacking him. I think the way you said it on your last comment was good: help him understand where you're coming from.

Nick the Geek said...


Ultimately that is my biggest concern. The Youth is full of people that never knew him right now, and while my relationship will be stunted with the ones he is still involved with I'm not sweating it too much. I do want to try and help him grow but I have no idea how to approach this subject without sounding like an ass.

"Hey I've been to college and you are screwing up because that is what my classes say."

I hate guys like that and I don't want to be that guy. Here's hoping someone can tell me how they have dealt with similar situations in a positive manner.

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