The research presented in the following pages explores interpersonal dynamics in church
leadership which may adversely affect the tenure of Youth Pastors in the Methodist Church of
Southern Africa (MCSA). Since 2006, eight resolutions passed by the Conference of the
MCSA have noted a concern around the appointment of Youth Pastors. When Youth Pastors
depart from their positions it can have an adverse effect on the young people, the Youth Pastor
and the ability of the church to be faithful in youth ministry. Literature supports a long tenure
for sustainable youth ministry.
A sample group of ten participants was selected and interviewed. The average tenure of the
sample group was calculated; compairsons were drawn between those who served for longer
and shorter than the average tenure. The aim of the research was to provide information to the
MCSA that might reduce the problem of disrupted Youth Pastor tenure by determining the
factors contributing to departure.
Both the literature review and the empirical research demonstrated that the Youth Pastor’s
relationship with the minister is critical to a positive job experience. Some of the factors
contributing to negative interpersonal relationships include an autocratic minister, a lack of
support and a church leadership that lacks insight into youth ministry. The majority of the
sample expressed a largely unmet expectation that their minister should provide them with
spiritual and personal support. They commonly experienced conflict with their minister,
particularly when one minister left and a new minister arrived. Most Youth Pastors who
underwent negative departures cited conflict with the minister as a primary factor in their
departure. However, there were others who experienced similarly difficult interpersonal
dynamics, yet chose to remain in their positions.
Thus, the question of why Youth Pastors leave was slowly overshadowed by a new question
which seeks to understand the factors that contribute to Youth Pastors choosing to remain.
The empirical research suggested that the qualities more frequently observed among long
tenure participants were (1) a clearly articulated call (2) a love for the youth (3) a mentor
outside the local church and (4) a sense of responsibility to fulfil a vision for the youth
The theory of action to be presented to the MCSA involves a more rigorous discernment
process for prospective Youth Pastors, the provision of a wider web of relationships for
Youth Pastors as well as the youth themselves, mandatory mentoring for all Youth Pastors
and a platform for the Youth Pastor to receive feedback.
Dissertation (MA Theology)--University of Pretoria, 2017.