My first sermon series for students this year was “I Quit!” challenging us to give up excuses, complaining, living in fear, and comparing. Most people think about quitting smoking, eating carbs, or cursing, but these four areas can do alot of damage to us as well. As I thought about things we as individuals should quit, I began to think about all of the things that many student ministries and churches do that they need to stop.
This week, I’m going to write about a few things that I see in our student ministry world that I believe we should consider stopping quickly. Some of these are debatable, others really shouldn’t be.
I’m only doing this for 2 reasons – outlet for things that I think about and to offer training to other youth pastors.
First up is – Stop breaking the law (or even coming close to breaking it)
Last week was Joe Paterno’s memorial service. The blogosphere has debated what will JoePa be remembered for? Will he be like Woody Hayes and one incident overshadow all of the good that he did? Most Christian blogs that I read seem to think that his career was for nothing because of that one terrible incident.
As a youth leader, it should scare us into reevaluating everything we do that involves legal issues. Wouldn’t it be terrible to serve as a student pastor for 20 years and then one moment cost you everything?
So what should change? Well…
– Do you know the reporting laws for your state? How would you have reacted to a teenage boy telling you something like this had happened with a staff member?
– Do you drive 85 MPH with a van full of teenagers on the way to camp? What happens if you get pulled over by the police? What if you wrecked?
– Do you still put adult chaperones in bed with teenagers on youth trips? Yes, not technically illegal, but it’s not 1983 anymore. That HAS to stop.
– If a kid handed you his drugs at camp what would you do? Flush’em or call the police?
– Putting 16 people in a 15 passenger? Refer to it’s not 1983 again.
– Do you have a background check on every leader? Sorry, but it’s not 1997 either. Time to fight that battle.
This list could go on and on forever. Most anyone with training or education probably has policies against the major things I mentioned, but I bet almost all of us have done at least one of these things before.
Some of these are easy fixes others really tough. Consider fighting the battle now instead of dealing with negligence later.