we youth workers do some pretty crazy things from time to time, right? call it “the lengths we’re willing to go to for teenagers” or “occupational risk” or just the collective risk-taking nature of our tribe, but man-alive, have i heard some stories. and, it was shockingly easy for me to pull together this list of 5 crazy things i’ve done. i probably could have listed 50 things.
i was thinking of this “crazy thing” list because i need to do a crazy thing this fall. some of you are going to laugh at me, or consider this super-lame. so be it.
here’s the story: as someone who travels quite a bit, my preferred flyer status with united airlines really makes my life easier. call me george clooney if want, but special security lines, early boarding, bonus miles (for family travel!), and free upgrades make regular air travel more livable. recently, i added up the miles i’m gonna get from my remaining trips this year, and i’m going to be one east coast trip (or a couple shorter trips) short of holding onto my frequent flier status this year.
so i’m offering a special deal: i’ll come speak for your event, or to your youth group, or your volunteer team, or preach in your church, or provide a day or two of consulting, at a 50% discount (plus travel costs). i don’t have a bunch of weekends available (a mid-week thing is very possible, btw) — here’s what’s left:
sept 10 – 12
october 22 – 24
october 30/31 (but i can’t fly on friday the 29th, so that weekend is a little limited)
dec 10 – 12 and 17 – 19
UPDATE: well, i got the miles thing worked out! YFC of northern ireland is bringing me in for a 2-day ‘youth ministry 3.0’ event in belfast. yup, that’s sure enough miles.
now, for the list of crazy things. please, add your own in a comment!
5 of the craziest things I’ve done in youth ministry
1. Sent 60 junior highers and leaders home on a 24-hour drive while I stayed a full week with an impounded truck in Mexico.
2. Had about 25 middle school boys in my home hot tub at one time.
3. Tried to keep a summer camp going when about 100 of 120 campers were throwing up and experiencing diarrhea.
4. Rented Universal Studios after hours for a private youth group event (and spent the first 25% of our time arguing with the manager to let us in after a kid lit off a firecracker while we were gathering at the gate).
5. Played sardines (reverse hide-and-seek) in the church sanctuary at a church where the sanctuary was a sacred cow.
when i was making the “crazy things” list, i kept coming up with things that weren’t really crazy, but were just stupid. so i made a second list…
as a bonus, 5 of the stupidest things I’ve done in youth ministry
1. Left a 7th grade girl at a McDonald’s in an extremely tough neighborhood in Chicago at 11pm, and didn’t realize it until she was pounding on the door of the building we were staying in, a mile from the McDonald’s.
2. Used a “hot seat” (which delivered a horrible electric shock) on a retreat as a way for junior highers to get points for their team via scripture recitation.
3. Allowed another youth pastor, when our two groups were partnering on a winter retreat, to do a crowdbreaker that was so gross I knew it was going to get me in trouble. It did.
4. Left a couple hundred junior highers in their hotel rooms on an overnight event with only one intern at the hotel while I took the rest of the adults out to In-N-Out Burger.
5. Accelerated a full van of students pulling a trailer toward a freeway barricade as a joke, not thinking about how hard it would be to stop with all that weight. We stopped, but my heart almost did also.
i want to hear your “crazy” or “stupid” youth ministry moments. add ’em as a comment, and whether you see it as crazy or stupid.