Culture -

8 of the scariest things about youth ministry —

By Eric Epperson

1. Sunday comes every week.


You know the feeling. You’re the last one at the church and you’re putting up the last few folding chairs after three hours of last-minute setup, Nine Square, teaching, a meaningful conversation, cleaning up a weird liquid and trying to reach Tyler’s mom and figure out when she’ll be there to pick him up. You’re beat … thankful, but beat. And then it dawns on you … you have to do it all over again in six days.


2. The never-ending quest for parking.
You are always trying to find that magical parking lot that has the perfect food options on a road trip. The road trip oasis … right off the interstate where the Walmart parking lot is connected to a burrito place, a smoothie shop, burger joint and sushi spot – all within eyesight. After you yell, “Be back in 45 minutes! Don’t go anywhere alone!” you stay in the bus alone to scream into a pillowcase. To give you hope, I have witnessed three such parking lots in America – it was magical because everyone was satisfied – sixth grade girls who only eat chicken strips, vegan youth sponsors, the offensive lineman, and a pregnant wife … These lots are located in Shiloh, Illinois; Cleveland, Tennessee and Yukon, Oklahoma ... Good luck.


3. Camp doesn’t serve a Whole 30-approved menu.
Brenda has been cooking the meals at camp for 28 years and doesn’t care if you no longer fit into your cargo shorts from college. Coffee cake is the only thing on the breakfast menu and don’t even think about asking her to de-bread your corndog.


4. Being asked, “Would you preach Memorial Day weekend?”
No one really thinks this is primetime, but the senior citizens always enjoy listening to the “young guy.” Just save the story about when you lost your swim trunks at the Holiday Inn for FCA.


5. When someone donates couches for the youth room.
Don’t ask any questions … Just say thank you.


6. Creating small group questions.
Here’s a frightening game … Name 10,000 different ways can you ask the question: “What was the main point of that lesson?”


7. Finding time to invest in your own walk with Jesus.
When you consider the amount of time you have to put into teaching a lesson every week, leading small groups, reading up on ministry and culture trends … it’s hard to squeeze in time for you to be quiet and fill your own tank. But it’s so important.
You are more valuable to God as His child than you are a pastor. Don’t neglect your own heart on behalf of your to-do list. And if you took your job away, how much of your spiritual life would still be there? That’s a scary question.


8. When you realize how important your job is.
One conversation can change a teen’s future.
That’s it. Just one.
The trouble is, we don’t know when those conversations are going to present themselves. They pop up out of nowhere. So be on guard – one could happen when you least expect it.


Eric_Epperson.jpgEric Epperson is the senior director for Æffect for Christ In Youth.