Youth Pastor, Youth Leader – Pay close attention to yourself

“Pay close attention to yourself and to the teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will save both yourself and those who hear you. 1 Timothy 4:16

Preface: I’m using Don Whitney’s Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life as a resource, I would invite you to get yourself a copy.


I think it’s obvious that leading in youth ministry is not easy. If you close your eyes for one moment, by the time you open them up there’s a new trend, a new slang, or a new term. Youth leaders often struggle to help youth connect with Scripture because the culture and language of the Bible is so alien to this ever-changing culture. Due to the nature of this ministry, you must watch yourself, because as the passage in 1 Timothy 4:16 states, failure to paying close attention to yourself can cost someone’s salvation. Imagine, the way you conduct yourself has an effect on a person’s receptivity to the Gospel. Below are three things I want to highlight:

What are you consuming?

Speaking from experience: there was a time in my life, before being ordained, when I knew the only time I would read my Bible was in preparation for a sermon. I would spend most of my free time binge-watching shows, watching stand-up comedy, living on social media, and playing video games. All in the excuse of “to stay with the trend.” However, I failed to realize the effect this was having on me.

I was conforming to this world, instead of being renewed by the transforming of my mind (Romans 12:1-2). As a result, I did not realize I was not leading a life worthy of my calling, and I was laughing at crude jokes, foolish talk, and things that are not meant for us (Ephesians 5:4).

A Call to Holiness

I think most of us fail to realize that the statutes in the Levitical laws are meant to define the meaning of Holiness. “Be Holy for I am Holy” is repeated throughout the book, and Peter Highlights the call to holiness in his letter in the New Testament. Then, Jesus said in Matt 6:22-23,“The eye is the lamp of the body; so then, if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. So if the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!”

We don’t realize the effects this can have on us, our ministry, and our witness.

After years of neglecting my Bible consumption, and not living a holy life, only reading theology to gain knowledge, rather than using it for the purpose of Godliness, I paid the consequences, the Lord disciplined me.

I was called to the office of the church I was serving as a student ministry director, a student and his dad asked a sobering question: “why is someone who’s supposed to be a youth pastor joking like that?” I did not see it then, but all my content consumption had blinded me, and it had mudded me out. I wasn’t being holy.


I was asked to leave my post. I was confused and heartbroken. I felt betrayed, because the way I saw it, I was being let go for doing what I thought others in my position were known to do, too. But blaming others is a recipe for not taking responsibility.

Today I am a different person than I was then. The Lord certainly pruned me, I am grateful for that family that had the courage to call me out, and I’m grateful for the church leadership that saw it necessary for me to leave. The family and I, by the way, are in good terms, and the relationship was restored.

Application: Pay Close Attention to Yourself

So many headaches and heartbreaks can be avoided by actually doing what God instructs.

What are you consuming? Realize that what you are consuming will affect the way you think, and the way that you will interact with people. How do you start your day? How do you finish your day? Do you meditate on God’s word the entire day?

  1. Christ paid the price so you could be made new. (2 Cor. 5:17-21)
  2. You have been called to live above reproach. (1 Tim 3)
  3. Confess and Repent, God is faithful and just to forgive you and cleanse you. (1 John 1:9)

You can learn more about me and what I do here.