Let’s face it. Youth ministry is NOT for the faint of heart. Here are some of the scariest things that have happened to real youth pastors.* Reader beware!
- Scheduling Wednesday night at the roller rink, only to discover it’s adult night.
- Hearing that song come on over the Spotify playlist. The unedited version.
- A midnight phone call. From a seventh grade student. Who just wants to know if you play Smash Bros.
- Saying something from stage you didn’t know was a brand-new innuendo.
- Your senior pastor sending you an email that says, “We need to talk.” And nothing else.
- Showing up dressed for the youth group costume party, only to realize you have a speaking part at the memorial taking place that morning.
- Tagging who you thought was your guest speaker for your retreat in a social media post, only to discover it’s a really inappropriate comedian.
- Scheduling your lock-in to end at 11 AM.
- Calling a student by the wrong name.
- Asking a student who attended your youth group for five years if it’s their first time visiting.
- Your accountant asking if you can explain the receipts. From the mission trip. Two years ago.
- Realizing you butt-dialed your associate pastor while out to dinner with your spouse.
- Telling yourself the game won’t make anyone throw up. Regretting your decision to not bring a trash can on stage five seconds in.
- Tapping a student with the church van because you didn’t know he was crouched in front of it.
- Hearing the next summer camp announced from the main stage. That you didn’t plan. Or budget for.
- Finding three couches donated to the youth room. You’re pretty sure they came from the 50s. No one claims responsibility.
- Missing two students after playing sardines. You vaguely remember someone saying they were dating.
- Attending a homeschool sporting event.
- Accidentally sending your lead pastor swear words, because talk-to-text translated your heart instead of your words.
- Having a student say an inappropriate joke in front of you that you find funny, but no, you can’t laugh or even smile at it.
- Being called by the bookkeeper and asked to explain your purchase of that super sexy pack.
- 20 minutes after youth group, you get a phone call from the parents of the last student to be picked up. They’re an hour away.
- After having the same spring break week for the last 30 years, the school district decides to change it only after you bought tickets for the international mission trip.
- Senior graduation recommendation letter season.
- Getting invited to a junior high band recital.
- Having a deacon or elder invite you into a “serving opportunity for our young people.”
- A homeschool family inviting you to their boys’ Manhood Ceremony.
- Opening your desk drawer, and finding a check that is a six-month-old registration payment for camp for a student.
- Budget season (interesting how it often coincides with Halloween).
- Having a 15-year-old student introduce you to her 19-year-old “fiancé”.
- Having an 18-year-old student pitch you on their multi-level marketing scheme.
Happy Halloween! Or Happy Harvest Festival Day. Whatever works for your context.
*Names hidden to protect the funny circumstances and prevent senior pastor emails.