A church youth minister is an ordained pastor whose primary goal is to provide religious education to the youth of the church. They bring the wisdom and knowledge of the church to help create an environment that welcomes this essential generation. Youth ministers come with passion, understanding, and training on how best to reach and disciple young people. Organizations such as the Unitarian Universalist Association (the main organization of universalist unitary congregations in the United States) and the Canadian Unitary Council (the national body for universalist unitary congregations in Canada) have ministries that minister to and with young people, of which Youth Unitary Religious Universalists (YRUU) are the largest and most obvious.
Youth ministers have been volunteering and being paid for parish youth ministries and diocesan youth ministries for many years. Church youth directors, also known as youth pastors, guide young people, usually in the middle and high school years, in the development of their faith. This includes weekly Bible study, Sunday school for youth, overnight stays or confinement, weekend retreats, and local and multi-day mission trips. Youth ministry can be an incubator for pastors as they learn to work with volunteers, build systems, and preach the Word, all with the investment of a senior pastor.
It is the responsibility of the youth director to organize a variety of activities, both in and out of the church, that attract many different young people to the church and maintain their interest. A youth pastor must see the young people in the youth group as potential missionaries to achieve their culture of Jesus Christ. The doctrine of Sunday Sabatarianism held by many Christian denominations encourages practices such as Sunday school attendance, as it teaches that the entire Lord's Day must be dedicated to God; since many children and adolescents often return to church in the late afternoon for the youth group before attending a night worship service. Each youth ministry is structured differently and culture will vary between youth ministries depending on how the ministry cultivates culture.