Last night as I lay in my bed, I thought back to my office as a youth pastor. Like many youth pastors, my office was a shared space. My desk was an old door thrown over two cabinets which were used as the founding pastor’s desk. I’d like to take you on a walk down memory lane. I’ll show you what my desk and decorations looked like and what their purposes were.

  • Dew Of Thy Youth Poster – I loved Mt. Dew (what youth pastor from that era didn’t). My wife had made a huge Mt. Dew poster with Psalm 110:3 written on it. Our teens loved it! It was a wonderful icebreaker. 
  • A World Map – God had just started giving me a vision for missions. So I decided to hang a map on the wall which held a tack on each location where one of our church’s missionaries was working.  I’d often talk about the map with our teenagers, and even at times, we would pray for the missionaries represented. As a fruit of this map, our teens grew a heart for the nations.
  • Ordination Papers & Bible College Diploma – I know many youth pastors are lay youth pastors and don’t have these two things. With a love for the youth, Bible study, communication with your pastor and the parents, and a ton of creativity, you’ll make it. I don’t doubt that you’ll see teens grow and be used for Jesus.
  • Calendar – Calendar is key in youth work! So many times we prepare to fail because we fail to prepare. As a former bi-vocational youth pastor, I would spend the first Saturday of the month planning out everything for the next 5 weeks. I’d plan out what I was preaching, teaching in Sunday school, our youth activities, and youth rallies. This helped me tremendously to stay organized and have a plan.
  • Silly String – This was for the random moments of craziness! As a youth pastor, you and your wife need to learn the power of spontaneity. At times, it’s good to do something crazy with your teens. This will undoubtedly endear them to your family! The key to this is, as the fun reaches its peak, throw in some truth. Every time they look back at those moments, they will have nuggets of truth weaved into the memories. 
  • Cleaning Products – Yep! Youth pastors usually end up wearing many hats! I unclogged toilets (often!), mopped the floors, and helped with projects around the church. If you want to be respected by the adults in your church, roll up your sleeves. I went as far as helping some of our elderly men in their home gardens. I did this because I wanted their respect as a man of God. The price for that respect was work and time. Although I earned their respect, I also gained something even more valuable, wisdom from these seasoned men!
  • A Bible – Teens need truth not cute! Quit trying to make your messages cute and start packing them with truths. One time I preached on Romans 1 verse by verse for over a year. We hit some deep stuff. At times illustrations were needed to drive it home, but the messages were full of applicable truths. 
  • Mementos From Camps, Conferences, and Youth Rallies – Every year after camp, my wife would print out photos and we would have all of our teens sign their names. The ceiling above my desk was surrounded by these memories. When we hosted evangelistic youth rallies, my wife would transform our fellowship into whatever the theme called for. After each rally, I’d find the coolest decoration and I’d add it to the collection in my office. These decorations would remind me to pray for the teens who had attended the event.

This is a short list, but be sure your desk has the tools needed for you to be the best youth pastor you can be. Remember, many youth pastors have changed the life of the world’s next servant for Christ.