My Friend Todd

If you’ve been a subscriber to my blog or a visitor of our website for even a short while, you’ve heard me talk about my friend Todd Pearage. Todd is not only one of our writers, he is also a youth worker out on the front lines. Or… was…

A little while ago Todd lost his job as a youth pastor.

Yeah… Merry Christmas.

I’ll give you the ugly details in a minute. But first let me brag about my friend. I met Todd years ago on a speaking trip. One of the things that first drew me to the guy was his eagerness to grow and learn everything he could about youth ministry. Fast forward a couple years and Todd began volunteering for our ministry at www.TheSource4YM.com writing curriculum (the brand new Miley music discussion featured on our front page right now is one of his) and doing occasional movie reviews. Now he actually manages our movie review page and has joined us on numerous THE SOURCE PODCASTS, including our annual movie review podcast (the third of which will premier this weekend on our web site).

Our readers have really enjoyed what Todd has offered over the years. After Todd’s “Skate Church” podcast, we received great feedback from people that appreciated Todd’s insight as a guy “out on the front lines” trying to make an eternal difference in the lives of kids.

I wish our little non-profit had the money to hire Todd full time. I feel lucky to have him just a few hours a week.

Needless to say, Todd is having a rough Christmas this year. Please pray for Todd, his wife and his two children.

Unfortunately, Todd’s old church had no idea what they just let slip through their fingers. When they hired him years ago, the head pastor wasn’t even in the hiring process. Long story, but the church was “between pastors.” The group that hired him assured Todd that they were looking for someone “contemporary.”

Todd came into the church, and despite the volatile leadership above him, Todd was a phenomenal youth pastor to those kids. I got a chance to see his ministry first-hand on a few occasions in my travels.

I’ve had plenty of friends lose their jobs in this economy because of downsizing or budget cuts. Todd didn’t lose his job for any of those reasons. Todd got “let go” by his church because he was too “contemporary” (the very thing he was hired for). When Todd first got the job, leadership changed, and they didn’t like “contemporary” any more. A couple examples:

1. He brought in Christian bands for concerts.

2. He didn’t wear a suit on Sunday morning.

Todd is the most humble guy. The “suit” story illustrates this. Todd didn’t have a suit. The “current” pastor told him that was okay. But one week a guy in the congregation with deep pockets told the pastor that Todd should be wearing a suit on Sunday morning. That week, Todd was told by the same pastor to buy a suit.

Todd did, without complaint. I happened to call him when he was shopping for it and he told me the whole story. I (being true to my Irish roots) flipped out. “You’re serious!!!!”

When Todd was eventually “asked to step down,” Todd didn’t make a scene at all. Todd went quietly. The whole situation really has me torn up.

Within two weeks the new pastor hired his best friend’s son.

Hmmmmmm.

Todd is the second guy I’ve personally seen land blasted by the church in the last year. In both situations, there was no reason to “let them go,” there was no “sin,” and it definitely wasn’t because they weren’t performing their job well …it was simply bad leadership. Regardless, both my friends exited humbly.

I know Todd will be hired by another church soon… he’s an amazing youth pastor. In the meantime, he’s doing odd jobs to pay bills, writing for us and for Interlinc. Please keep Todd in prayer.

David and I recorded a special podcast with Todd that we’re going to air in January, talking about “transitions” in ministry. I look forward to you all hearing that. In the meantime, I encourage you to all listen to Todd and I this weekend when we release our third annual movie review podcast on our PODCAST PAGE.

About Jonathan McKee

president of The Source for Youth Ministry, is the author of over twenty books including the brand new If I Had a Parenting Do Over, 52 Ways to Connect with Your Smartphone Obsessed Kid; Sex Matters; The Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket; and youth ministry books like Ministry By Teenagers; Connect; and the 10-Minute Talks series. He has over 20 years youth ministry experience and speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers and parents on his websites, TheSource4YM.com and TheSource4Parents.com. You can follow Jonathan on his blog, getting a regular dose of youth culture and parenting help. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.
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2 Responses to My Friend Todd

  1. Schweetheart says:

    Our senior pastor forced out the youth pastor about four years ago. It was more of a personality conflict than anything else, although there were other reasons. It wasn’t fair the way he was forced to leave, but he was given time to find another job and allowed to resign instead of being fired. Unlike Todd though, he did NOT leave quietly. It was ugly. Our church has still not recovered from the fallout. We just had to let our music pastor go because of financial difficulties. I’m working as the part time youth leader, now and I love my church, but it seems like we are still limping after that situation.
    I really respect Todd for not causing a stink at his old church. I know God will bless him. I’ll be praying for him!

  2. Jennifer says:

    The church I used to attend fired our youth pastor as well…it was heartbreaking. He also exited humbly, but I know he and his family were hurt.

    My husband and I never returned to that church…we felt what happened was wrong and couldn’t stand behind it. We also had felt God calling us into a new way of church. Now I see that God has used what happened to bring Him glory. We as people can do good things or bad things, but God can make a beautiful end result to glorify Him either way.

    This same youth pastor has now started a church…and it is beautiful. One church lost their youth pastor, but there is now an amazing pastor leading the growing baby of a church God called him to…and we know this is the result God wanted.

    Praying for your friend, that he will find a place, like our pastor, where he can be free to be all that Jesus has called him to be and not forced to conform to made up rules.