Consider Tommy Boy here. He's 17 and Apostolic and he's just itching for the youth pastor position that will inevitably open in a few years when the current youth pastor, Pastor Mike, either gets promoted to being an elder in the church or just gets all antsy once he realizes the real Pastor doesn't really have plans for him to become the next church's pastor and leaves the church in a cloud of controversy and accusation.
Tommy Boy wants that position so bad he can't stand it. And he's slightly fearful of the competition. His Apostolic peers in his church that are around about the same age as him and seem to all secretly be vying for that sacred position. No one says it of course.This is how the game goes. Tommy Boy knows it. And as for him and his peers, they all know the others are trying to veer towards that same sacred cow of being a youth pastor. They are all friends. They are all suspicious of each other. They all want the same thing. One of them alone will get the role. And one of them, "Soggy Bobby T" has a leg up on the competition. He is the pastor's son. Hate Soggy Bobby T. Hate him because he is always sweating when he prays and is always brandishing a handkerchief at the altar. Hate him because he is entitled. Tommy Boy would hate him but he knows that this would also be ministerial suicide. Instead he keeps his enemies closest and is thus Soggy Bobby T's best friend.
To be a youth pastor means a whole lot. It means people will listen to you and look up to you. It means the entire world in terms of Apostolic Culture. It means headlining at youth rallies. and if you preach good enough and meet the right people and suck-up without making it obvious, you could preach youth conventions and special conferences all over the great land of the free, the United State of America. It also means girls. A lot of girls. It means you have your pick of girls when you are a youth pastor. This is important.
So Tommy Boy, here's my advice to you... just a few rules to enforce to ensure yourself the role of one day becoming a youth pastor:
1) Have a bright future.
2) Make sure Soggy Bobby T gets involved with drugs or alcohol. The key is to deliver them personally or introduce to a view shady lads who have the hook-up. Do not tattle on Soggy Bobby T when he falls. If you did, the pastor will assume you are the enemy. It's paradoxical indeed. Just make sure he gets the drugs/alcohol. If you do it right there will be no need to tattle on Soggy Bobby T. He'll just about give up on caring about the ministry altogether and say mean things about the church.
3) Do not take drugs or alcohol (see the predicament of Soggy Bobby T above for reason why you shouldn't.). Likewise, Don't get caught in the backseat of your car with a girl who you know is there just to control the urges and is in no way a viable candidate to be a youth pastor's wife. (For the female thing, notice that I said "Don't get caught" and not "Do not end up in the backseat...."
4) Pray longer than all your competition at the altar. Note: You don't have to pray harder than the competition because hard prayer with many tears is interpreted as a prayer of repentance for major back-seat-with-girl kind of sins.
5) Do not get caught eyeing the competition at the altar to ensure that you are the last one praying. Never pray with your eyes open. It's weird. And reveals that you are a fake.
6) Cry only at the altar.
7) Ensure you are in the proper position to always get prayed for by big-time visiting preachers at the altar.
8) Read expensive Christian books with cool covers and textures sold at Barnes & Noble. Yes they are stupid and have no substance and act like they have a way more significant meaning than they really have. It's not the message you're after. It's the lingo that they use in the books that you need to learn. Also, they are each totally good for two sermons to preach that you can act like are your own, original, God inspired idea. The best books can be stretched into an entire preaching series.
9) Never ask to preach or teach. It looks selfish and self-indulgent. If you aren't getting asked to teach and you absolutely need to let the authorities know that you want to preach... tell them God gave you a word to preach. That way your request is not your own fault but rather God's fault.
10) Tattle on ministers whom you think are secretly emergent to your pastor. If you don't know anyone whose secretly emergent, accuse the competition of being emergent anyways. This will demonstrate loyalty.
11) Come up with a mantra that says "The message doesn't change. It's the methods that we need to be open about changing." Embrace the head nods of everyone you say this to.
12) Start praying for others at the altar as if you are superior to them. The key is not to pray from the side of a person but by standing right in front of them, with your hand on their forehead and like, begin to rock them heavy, with your hand. This tactic is especially useful when used on your friends who are competing to be a youth pastor. Be militant here.
13) Talk to guests at altar call. It doesn't even have to be about God. You can talk about sports or a television show. Everyone seeing you talk to the guest will assume you are witnessing.
14) Only pray for those at the altar who are already praying very sincerely. Otherwise it can get really awkward really fast.
15) Be relevant. Be cool. Dress dapper. Become vain. Ignore the vanity of others. Never bring the issue up as a sin. This is essential to getting in with the "in crowd."
16) Listen to podcasts of other ministers. They don't have to be Apostolic. Use the podcasts for your own sermons. Tell no one.
17) Ask a lot of questions to your pastor to make him think you value his opinion. You may already know the answer to the question but ask anyway. You may find the questions stupid, but as long as it makes the pastor feel like you see him to be in a position of authority, you'll win every time. Just make sure the questions are more the "served on a tee to be hit out of the park" kind of questions and not the Tough Questions.
18) Casually and frequently mention something you read in your Bible during your own devotion time. But never do so like it's forced.
19) Tell people you are praying for them.
20) Consider bible school.
21) Minister to the 12 and 13 year olds no matter how boring and stupid they are. The mothers will like you.
22) Always go out to eat after church.
23) Don't read Romans. If you do, do not try to comprehend Romans.
24) Psalms is always a solid source to preach from. Simple stuff here.
25) Pay thousands of dollars to go on a three week missions trip. It's easy. And IT'S A HUGE RESUME BUILDER.
26) If you are a bad preacher, become a teacher or missionary.
27) Do not state your ambition to become a youth pastor whatsoever. It's ministerial suicide. When it comes to the ministry, you must never state your wants out loud. Instead you must earn the position silently and innocently. You must act like you are seeking God first and foremost, and when you've been having a go with God long enough, a pastor will pat you on the back years down the road and say "welcome aboard Youth Pastor." Then you must act shy and unassuming and unworthy of the role. You must say "golly" and "shucks" a lot and say "you really want me to be youth pastor? Me, I'm a nobody." You may mention from time to time that the Good Lord, Himself called you to "The Ministry" at the altar at Summer camp, but also know that this gets you few friends and many enemies.
28) Make Christianity to be about submission and obedience and not love. Ignore the story of Jesus washing the feet of Peter. Of course this can change once you are youth pastor and have earned a little-freedom-of-theological interpretation. But this is only after you are youth pastor.
29) When the issue of the trinity comes up... always answer "Fully God, Fully man." Ignore the fact that this doesn't make sense. If questioned further tell the person asking to "quick, look over there" and while they are looking, run like whoa.
30) If you are not from the South, develop a pseudo-Southern accent and say "Yes, sir" and "No Ma'am" a whole lot. If you are from the South, move up North. We're waiting for you to be our shepherd.
Follow these things and you will reap the benefits you soon-to-be-youth-pastor, you.
Edit: What rules did I miss? We already got some real nice one's in the comments... And I'm a hankering for a repost of the added suggestions.