Tired of all these youth ministry blogs (this one included) telling you all the things you should be doing? Me too!
Who died and made us experts that we get to tell everybody else the best ways to recruit volunteers, evangelize youth, plan events, manage time, and on and on and on? So, in the spirit of knocking us all down a peg or two, let me share with you my list of things you should never do in youth ministry. Of course, I have personally done every single one of these!
1) Never use college drinking games for icebreakers even though you use soda instead of alcohol (and no excuses just because you didn't know the game was based on a college drinking game!)
2) Never call off a lock-in (or similar event) because only a few teens sign up/show up unless you want to send a message that those few don't really matter.
3) Never suggest to the youth that the adult part of the church just isn't as cool as the youth ministry part (unless you want teens to run screaming from the Church when they turn 18).
4) Never ask a parent to be a youth ministry leader or chaperone without getting permission from their teen FIRST! (or else you may get the parent to show up at the event...but not their teen.)
5) Never allow teens unfettered access to the church building for a video/photography project unless you find out the subject matter first (which is preferable to finding it out after the images hit Facebook or YouTube and the senior pastor is giving you a call.)
6) Never say "I promise" to youth unless you really mean "I promise."
7) Never drive anywhere alone with one of your youth (unless you are trying to escape from the T Rex that has just flattened the church building and even then the teenager should ride in the back seat!)
8) Never assume you know the sexual orientation of your youth, their parents or family members.
9) Never call youth after 10:00 PM on a school night unless you want to incur the wrath of their parents (besides, this is the time when they are supposed to be in their rooms, pretending to study, while they talk to their friends on the cellphone.)
10) Never show a movie before previewing the whole thing (a mistake I should have learned from in my teens when my youth leaders showed us "An American Werewolf in London" -- sex scenes and all!)
11) Never assume that your youth group members are keeping their parents "in the loop" about what you are doing in your ministry.
12) Never forget that, once you add them to your "friends list" on Facebook, your youth can see everything you are posting (unless you can figure the ins-and-outs of how to block them from reading your politically charged rants or the photos of you from the high school glee club.)
13) Never buy into the lie that just because the other youth ministries in town have more teens that you must be doing wrong. Just keep loving your youth and modeling, as best you can, Christ's way of peace, justice, and grace.
Anybody have any more to add? (Remember, to be fair, they should be things you've actually done yourself!)