Are extroverts more effective youth pastors? The stereotypical youth pastor has a hip haircut, skinny jeans, is funny, young, loud, charismatic, and has an extroverted personality. These fashion styles and personality traits seem to be the foundation of an effective youth pastor. But what about the introverted youth pastors? Are they less effective in ministry because they don’t have a loud and extroverted personality? To answer this question, we must look at what makes a youth pastor effective.
Never equate loudness with leadership. There are many loud people who are not capable of leading. The foundation and core make up of a youth pastor is not his fashion, humor, ability to know 100 names, or his ability to be the center of attention because of his charisma. Character is at the core of what makes a youth pastor effective.
A leader must have high capacities. If you improve your competencies without working on your character, you will not be an effective leader. Character is always more important than competency. If an extroverted youth pastor has high competencies, but lacks character, he will not be effective in ministry. He can last for a while, but his time spent in youth ministry will eventually expose his character for what it is. You can only hide for so long. An introverted youth pastor may not have the charismatic, extroverted personality, but those things pale in comparison to the importance of his character. An introverted youth pastor is effective in ministry if his character is mature and is constantly maturing.
As someone who is working to become a youth pastor, I wrestle with the idea that my character is more important than my competencies. I want to be that leader who attracts people because of my extroverted personality, but that is not what youth ministry is about. Leadership is about equipping other leaders. If you are the “one-man show youth pastor,” you aren’t leading just because people laugh at your jokes and enjoy spending time with you. You lead when you lead other leaders; when you start developing other leaders.
Developing other leaders isn’t a job for extroverts or introverts; it is a job for someone with good character. Rather than asking if extroverts are more effective youth pastors, we need to ask a different question. Does that youth pastor have good character that is constantly maturing?