I hear the lament often, or a version of it: “My Senior Pastor doesn’t support our ministry; I never get any of his/her time.”
I understand where that statement is coming from, the feelings associated with it, and the frustration behind it. But every coin has two sides. Let me take a few minutes to share some of the other side…which may actually be the good side! Here are three reasons why it’s GOOD your senior pastor never thinks about you.
It means you’re doing an okay job. Your senior pastor has lots of stuff to worry about, and if you aren’t one of them…Hooray! The team I lead often feels like the youth ministry doesn’t get the attention it deserves, to which I say, “Good! The night Rick Warren wakes up thinking about youth ministry probably won’t result in a good day for us the next morning!” The fact that the pastor doesn’t feel the need to check up on us, ask us for weekly reports, or “pop in” to our Friday night activity is, in a senior pastor type of way, one of the greatest signs of support. It means things are okay, he/she trusts you and is satisfied with how the youth group is going.
It means you have freedom. You don’t want to abuse your freedom, or else you will suddenly have more attention from your pastor than you ever hoped or dreamed for, but freedom is a good thing. Most senior pastors are older than you, and have different ideas about youth ministry and different visions for the church. And while it’s vital that you try to align yourself appropriately with the vision and direction of the church as a whole, you want the freedom to flesh that out in a way unique to your youth ministry. And that is made a whole lot easier when the senior pastor isn’t paying close attention to you. I have youth ministry friends who have to get approval by their pastor for virtually everything…from having pizza delivered to the youth room to what they will be teaching each week to the games they will play at camp. You want more attention from your pastor? Be careful what you wish for.
It means you can leverage the attention you do get. While it’s fairly common for youth workers to desire a little more time/attention from their pastor, it’s fairly rare that a senior pastor refuses to give them any time at all. This presents a great opportunity for you! Absence often makes the heart grow fonder, and prolonged time between face-time with your pastor very likely works in your favor. So knowing that he/she hasn’t heard from you in a while gives you the chance to brag about the stuff you want to brag about, and ask for the support you truly need while leaving out the “other” stuff! Because the ministry you lead is one of the few in the church that is flourishing without the senior pastor’s input, when the rare moments of input arrive, make the most of them!