Youth Pastor – What is your “Norm”?

I have been wrestling with the sustainability of my current youth ministry reality for over a year. According to Sustainable Youth Ministry, the estimated “norms” in youth ministry are:

  • 1-5 adult to teen ratio for teens who need mentorship and discipleship. This is also the ratio where teens need to thrive in their relationship with Christ. Other than that, we aren’t able to meet the needs the teen(s) have without a high investment relationship
  • 10% youth ministry attendance of the adult congregation is average in churches. For example, if you had 1000 adults on a Sunday morning, you should have 100 teens attending the youth ministry.
  • 20% youth ministry attendance of the adult congregation is above normal in churches. Therefore, a church of 1000 adults on a Sunday morning would be a youth ministry of 200.
  • An operational budget including salary and benefits would be from $1000-$1500/teen. That would mean a $100,000 budget for a youth ministry of 100 teens.
  • 1 full time paid youth pastor/worker per 50 teens.

With these “norms” comes spiritual and numerical growth. Any church who desires to have a thriving youth ministry should seriously consider the above. However, I have a word of caution: BASE the suggested “norms” within your current church culture. Be careful not to push the above in a culture that will experience culture SHOCK. Use wisdom.

Furthermore, what happens when the “norms” of a youth ministry is over the 20%? What happens when a youth ministry hits over 50%? I am wrestling with these realities. What are your thoughts/ideas?