1) Show up.
When the youth ministry has a fundraiser, plan to be there. If there is a graduation celebration or baptism, make sure you are present. Sometimes those events are just for the immediate family or youth leaders, but sometimes they are for the whole church. If you are invited, go, even if you have no children or are not serving in the youth ministry. Your presence means a lot to the kids and the youth pastor will notice. Be aware of the youth calendar and even make the effort to plan your life around it when you can. It demonstrates care when the congregation is present and supports the youth ministry.
2) Say it.
Let the youth pastor know you are thankful for his or her hard work. Usually, the youth pastor doesn’t hear from others in the church except for when there are complaints about the youth or the youth ministry or when something in the church is found broken. Be an advocate and be a voice for the youth ministry in the church. Those lives matter. The youth pastor matters. Take specific notice of the good things you see in the youth ministry and tell the youth pastor and others in the church. Those comments can go a long way, but know it takes even more of those to undo some of the negative ones, so don’t hold back!
3) Do something.
Be a volunteer! Serving and being part of the ministry is one of the greatest ways to show the youth pastor you care. If you aren’t sure how you can be involved, talk to the youth pastor about it. Let them know your gifts and what you might be able to do. Don’t accept all the excuses you could come up with not to help. Everyone in the church can contribute to the youth ministry in some way. Students always need people praying for them. The ministry always needs people to speak up for what they are doing during church committee meetings. Those teenagers need mentors and others who will show them how to be an adult disciple of Christ. Your ability to do something will change in different seasons, but don’t let that stop you from being involved at some point.
4) Give a gift.
A gift from a church member to the youth pastor is very kind. Your gift might be a donation to the youth ministry. Some churches tend to run on very tight youth ministry budgets so extra donations mean a lot. Even when a church has a large youth budget, a special donation may cover the costs of a student for an event. That kind of gift will mean a lot to the youth pastor who wants to provide every opportunity to each student to encounter Jesus in new ways. You can show you care by providing small gifts throughout the year whether it’s a quick note or a small gift card or a package of the youth pastor’s favorite treat (hint: others in the office should be able to answer this so it can be a surprise).
5) Take a selfie.
You may or may not be savvy with new technology, so if taking selfies isn’t your thing, consider this as an invitation to include the youth pastor in your life. Maybe you spend time praying for the youth pastor each day or you take him or her out to lunch once a month? If you aren’t part of the youth ministry in some way, you have a greater opportunity to see the youth pastor beyond their ministry role, which can also be a great gift to the youth pastor. Let the youth pastor get close enough for that selfie, even if you don’t bust our your phone to take the picture. Show you care for the youth pastor by caring!