Student Ministry Mistakes v1.0

This will no doubt be the first of many “mistakes” posts to come, however I must start with something that has haunted me for about 8 years now.

Somehow, I came across this (what I thought was going to be) great game idea.  It involved saran wrap, so far so good.  Water balloons, how could you possibly go wrong.  A student.  Still not anything to be worried about.  And then a post sticking out of the ground about 8 feet tall.  This is where I should have become a little concerned.  Student pastors, are you beginning to see where this is going?  For those that might not be tracking, the game involved “tricking” a student into standing against the post, and then saran wrapping the unsuspecting student to said post, and then once they were immobilized, we would then begin pelting them with water balloons.  I still cannot imagine how I thought this would be a good idea.  This was bullying before bullying became a sensitive topic.  AND I SANCTIONED IT!!!

So, here is version 1.0 of  nearly 15 years worth of chronicled and well documented, unforgettable student ministry mistakes.

  1. Have “fun” at the expense of a particular individual.  Did I ever tell you the story about saran wrap?  Water balloons?  And an 8′ post?  I thought so…
  2. Try to be every student’s buddy.  The fact of the matter is, they (students) need us (youth workers) to be their spiritual leaders, mentors, life coaches…not their BFFs!
  3. Worry about pleasing everyone.  I think I had been involved in student ministry about 5 minutes when I realized that you can’t make every parent, and every student happy!  Save yourself the trouble.  Don’t try.  Don’t even attempt to.
  4. Avoid communication with your lead/senior pastor.  Ladies and gentlemen.  I beg you.  I implore you!  Please have great communication with your boss!  If you’re not great at verbal communication, by all means, use email, text, smoke signals…anything!  If you’re comfortable with face-to-face encounters, then be intentional with times to meet!  In fact, I’m scheduled to meet with my Lead Pastor in about an hour for lunch…can’t wait!  But guess what, we had to intentionally schedule this time together!  We generally don’t get to just “hang out” and catch up on Sundays!  So, we must be intentional with scheduling our times to communicate.
  5. Attempt to “do ministry” without God.  Really?  Do we really believe that we can change the lives of students by awesome graphics (which we need), great programming (which we need), great events (which we need), great games with saran wrap, water balloons, and an 8′ post?  Actually, we could probably do without that last part.  We say we can’t “do ministry” without God, yet sometimes our actions speak otherwise.

Remember that old saying, “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it!”  Folks, I have revealed a few mistakes that I have regrettably made.  Please learn from them, don’t repeat them, and the next time someone suggests a game with saran wrap, water balloons, and an 8′ post…be afraid…be VERY afraid!

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