Stuff Youth Ministers Like #18: “I’m Poor” Conversations

If you’ve ever listened to a youth minister, you have probably heard him or her talk about a number of things, including but not limited to: Jesus, the Church, the best use of shaving cream in an opening icebreaker.

Being pulled in so many different directions, youth ministers have an array of knowledge on many topics. But, there’s one topic that unites us all, and no matter what you do, inevitably it will come up in a conversation with a youth minister at some point. (Trust me, we have a pact that requires this.)

And what is that topic? How little money we have.

It’s well known and well documented that youth ministers do not make a lot of money. In fact, we’ve even been known to stock our wardrobe with 15-year-old retreat t-shirts just to keep us clothed. And yet, somehow most of us have an iPhone. Go figure.

For some reason we just love to talk about how “poor” we are. Sometimes we are pretty direct about our low salaries, but most of the time we try to disguise it with phrases like:

“My car muffler is being held together by a clothes hanger.”

“I still sleep in my childhood twin bed.”

“We’re taking a collection tonight so that I can renew my membership to the Top Ramen Fan Club.”

“I live in a van down by the river!” (Oh wait a minute. I think I heard that one somewhere else.)

In a world where people love to show off how much they have, we love to brag about how much we don’t, as if it’s some kind of contest. But it’s all for Jesus and the teens, and that’s what keeps us moving even when our cars run out of gas.

Question: How do you support yourself and/or your family on your salary? (Share some of the ways you make ends meet below.)

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