7 Reasons Churches Need to Consider a Young Pastor to Lead Their Church Revitalization

I understand why churches look for someone with ministry experience when they’re looking for a pastor. Frankly, I would naturally lean that way, too—except for the many “rookie” pastors I’ve seen do well in their ministry. Here’s why a young pastor might lead well your church’s revitalization efforts.

  1. Many young leaders have depth in their faith. They just believe that God can do anything, so they’re willing to follow Him into the most difficult church circumstances. That’s the kind of pastor I would want.
  2. An increasing number of young pastors senses a call to do church revitalization. I wrote a blog post about the “church planting rage” in 2015. That calling is still popular, but more and more young pastors believe God is calling them to lead churches in plateau or decline.
  3. Young pastors often seek an older mentor in ministry. They don’t want to do ministry alone, and they look for older leaders to help guide them. That means that your young pastor may well have wise counselors speaking into his life as he leads your church.
  4. More young leaders have a deep burden for their home church. In many cases, they have fond memories of their upbringing in that church—and they want to help that church and others experience growth. Gone are the days when young leaders avoided struggling and dying churches.
  5. Some young leaders have completed seminary classes on church revitalization. The school where I teach (Southeastern Seminary) now offers MA, MDiv, and D.Min. degrees with a specialization in revitalization—as do other seminaries. Hence, young leaders may have graduate level training in revitalization that older pastors did not get.
  6. Young pastors will likely attract other young people. Church growth naturally happens that way—the young pastor will likely attract people close to his age and stage of life. Most church revitalizations I know need more young people.
  7. Young pastors who just want to do ministry are often worth the risk. Their zeal for ministry is so strong that it can naturally bleed over into the congregation. Others then want to be a part of that ministry when they see the young pastor’s faithful passion for God.

Again, I do understand why congregations want a pastor with experience. At the same time, though, somebody must give young pastors a chance. I challenge you to give them that opportunity.




  • Mark Roberts says:

    The men are doing a verse by verse study of the OT. SS classes are in the NT. What I have come away with is that rarely does God place a man in leadership that has not been first tested, often for many years. Looking at the number of young church growth pastors over the past few years that have left the ministry the question arises. . . were they ever tested? In no other profession is a person put into the top management post without “working up the ranks” or “learning the ropes”. From personal experience as a graduate of both a Bible College and Seminary. . .I had the facts and the drive. . .but was not ready for leadership due to not having had my faith tested first. The Biblical model is young leaders serving under seasoned older leaders until the time comes to hand off the baton. Why is it that young men right out of the seminary seek a senior pastor position immediately. . .as opposed to a staff position under a seasoned man of God that has been through the wilderness?

    • Wesley says:

      Mark and John have great points. It seems that once you hit a certain age no one will even look at you. Currently have been told 5 times in the last 2 years I was outside their age requirement. Really, since when does leadership or Senior Pastor have an age attached to it? Of the 5 churches 4 hired a young guy that lasted less than 2 years and are searching again! Having served in the trenches for 30 years I have a lot of life and energy left and would like to invest it … but everyone is seeking younger … and another thing … what is up with all these headhunters / groups selecting Candidates BEFORE Be for you can even speak or connect with the Pastor Search teams? what have we become.

  • John Carlton says:

    Dr. Chuck, Many of us older pastors, even retirees like myself, have a younger mindset–we want to do things. Granted that at age 73 I don’t have the energy nor do I have the ability physically that I had 30 years ago. However, I am still ready and willing to go and do what needs to be done in revitalization. If that opportunity arose for me to be in a congregation that is ready for revitalization, I would encourage them to have a younger man be my understudy. We would certainly learn from each other. I believe that this would be a great combination. My health is improving and I am ready to jump back in the saddle. I would hope that the progress in revitalization would be slow and steady. The main reason, obviously is that my days are numbered, and I have more behind me than in front. I would hope that I have much to offer a congregation, no matter their size.

    BTW I am preaching this Sunday at a small church about an hour away from my home. They are small, and they must break out of the mold that they have cast themselves in. They live in a community that most of the residents are Black and they are a white church. In the midst of all this, people from the Atlanta area are retiring to this area.

  • Phillip Hurst says:

    Some very good points as always. With a willing heart of faith and the guidance of a good mentor to assist them, young pastors can indeed accomplish much. Perhaps Timothy is a good Biblical example of such a man. 1st Timothy 4:12

  • Thanks for another relevant post, Chuck. In many places, it seems the average church member has not been purposefully connecting with younger generations for some time. There will have to be a renewed love for God and others for this to change.

    Accepting younger leadership may be easier for some than accepting personal responsibility to love and connect with our younger neighbors. Without a genuine love for them, we may be willing to call a younger leader, but maintain the long-standing practice of “hiring someone to do it” (i.e. ministry).

    We older pastors likely enjoy a natural receptiveness among older members. If we are willing to step outside of our comfort zones, humble ourselves, and do whatever it takes (1Cor. 9:19-23), we could be instrumental in modeling how to live and love younger generations.

  • N/A says:

    I’m a young Deacon I’ve been serving in that position for the past 11years. I know God has more for me than what I’m currently doing. It seems that there is very limited opportunity for me to grow in my current local assembly. I’m nearly 40 years and I feel like my personal ministry is not being developed. I’m strongly considering leaving my current church. I’m not sure what I should do my wife is ready to leave. I’m still wrestling with leaving or staying, but one thing is for sure I will not go through another 12 years of sitting and not being allowed to develop my gifts. Thanks for any suggestions or advice

    • Bob Kadlecik says:

      Whether you are a pastor, layman or deacon I believe there are two questions that should determine what church you go to: Where can you grow the most and where can you serve God most effectively? In baseball the tie goes to the runner. In church the tie goes to the stayer. What I mean by that is that if you are not sure whether you would be more effective elsewhere – stay. Relationships take time to develop (which is probably why your wife isn’t ready to leave.) and are a key component to spiritual impact. I believe the universal church is more important than my church so when people leave to go to other good churches for the kingdom, I do not count that a loss.

  • Bob Kadlecik says:

    I think we can all agree there aren’t enough pastors of any age capable of revitalizing a church. I believe pastors hit their prime in their 50’s – they have the wisdom of some age, plenty of energy, often more time (because children are grown), and are young enough to continue at a church for a decade or more. Chuck isn’t saying young are better – he’s saying young pastors should be considered. There are positives and negatives to any age. And… when you can’t afford the best, hire the young who will become the best.

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