week of stupid youth ministry moments, day 1

last monday i posted about 5 crazy things i’d done in youth ministry, and 5 stupid things i’d done in youth ministry. my speaking agent, tim grable, also sent the post out as an email to his massive list. many of you commented on my post with some pretty awesome and pretty stupid things. but several people receiving tim’s email just responded to him. i’ll share a few of those stories here, and more tomorrow. after each, i’ll add my short comment as to whether i consider this a “crazy” moment or a “stupid” moment. i should warn you — most are stupid!


Led a group of jr-highers into the woods close to a spring in Florida on a campout. Wanted to get them where it was nearly complete silence and near total darkness for a devotional experience. Led them on a boardwalk with no rails. No one fell. But why stupid? I didn’t check if it was legal or not, and there are gators galore. The park ranger heard us, yelled at our entire group from across the spring, and sent us back to the camp site with a good tongue lashing. Another ranger: “I appreciate what you’re trying to do, but with the gators around here, I don’t want you to end up demonstrating the ‘Jonah and the whale’ story!” Dumb. (from james)

marko rating: i’m with you, james — stupid.


I had just gotten a new car (Subaru Outback) with a roof rack. We are driving on a back mountain trail when one of the kids asked to ride on the roof. I thought it would be fun, after all they had something to hold on to. So I had kids on the roof while driving between a giant dropoff and a large rock wall, narrow paths and trees. Of course, we had to have more fun so the one on the roof got to deal with windshield washer coming their way. Fortunately the worst that happened was I got a flat tire, and a dent in the back of my roof. Thankfully, I had some parents full of grace who very gently and sternly told me to never ever do it again. (from tim)

marko rating: stupid is as stupid does.


We’ve laughed for years about the time I led a group of teens into the ostrich pen at the farm of a family that was hosting us on our missions trip in Duluth, MN. The first time we went into the pen it freaked us all out and we ran out screaming like a bunch of girls…so naturally we decided to do it again. Only this time, the student right in front of me locked the door behnd himself on the way out, trapping me and one other boy in the barn with this 10 foot bird. The ostrich cornered us and started hissing and pecking on our heads, so I, being taller, held his neck back. The students outside the pen wanted a picture of our plight, so they opened the door… I saw a way out, so I ditched the student and ran for the door. I made it, but the ostrich stepped in front of the boy blocking his path, then raised his wings and started beating the student. He shoved the bird back, which thoroughly hacked off the ostrich who then kicked him in the shin and put a huge gash in his leg. The next thing we knew the student busted the door down running out of the barn. Our hosts about flipped out and told us they only go in there with these Roman Style plexiglass shields and these 10 foot poles to keep these birds at bay. For years after that I carried an osrtich beanie baby with me in my back pack to remind me that I am in charge, and as such, should be a better decision maker and leader…but it sure is fun to laugh about it now! (from joe)

marko rating: ok, this one gets both a ‘crazy’ AND a ‘stupid’. going into the ostrich pen in the first place = crazy. everything after that = stupid. fantastic story, though!

2 thoughts on “week of stupid youth ministry moments, day 1”

  1. The first time I ever spoke at a Christian school was this place up in Connecticut, not too far over the border from New York. I did the normal thing of having too much to say. So I didn’t even get half way through it… but I think that the “stupid” part was that I was presenting the basic message if the Gospel…to a group of CHRISTIAN students… sheesh. Go me. Almost as fun as preaching to the choir. :-\

Leave a Reply