Tag Archives: crazy youth ministry moments

week of stupid youth ministry moments, day 4

last week, i posted a list of 5 crazy things i’ve done in youth ministry and 5 stupid things i’ve done in youth ministry. here are a couple of my “favorites” from the comments…

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I think mine takes the cake so far. I was the new youth pastor in our area and had been invited by a seasoned youth pastor to attend an area-wide junior high retreat. We had groups there from 60 miles away. All the other youth pastors had done this retreat before, and all had been in youth ministry for years.

During the game “what would you do for a candy bar,” I found myself standing in the back of the room. The youth pastor leading the game heard a teen say he’d be willing to drink toilet water. So the youth pastor called my name and asked me to get the boy some toilet water to drink, and that I had to be the witness to make sure he drank it all. Keep in mind, I’m the new guy, with seasoned youth pastors, and I have less than a year of experience (so like a brainless lemming, I follow orders like a good youth pastor).

So I take the boy into the bathroom and fill the cup with toilet water. After he downs the first glass I tell him something along the lines of, “a real man would drink two glasses.” So the boy does.

All is done and great, right? WRONG!!! The boy, who wasn’t even in my youth ministry, ends up getting REALLY sick the night he got home from the retreat. He ends up in the hospital. So the health department gets involved and has to drive the 30+ miles to the camp to do water testing and investigate the camp for “other alternatives” for how the boy got so sick. The boy ends up staying in the hospital overnight and is released in the morning.

The lead youth pastor of the retreat then calls me after getting a call from the camp, or the health department, or the youth pastor, or the mother, or someone. When the youth pastor identifies himself, I instantly had a sinking feeling in my gut. It all the sudden hit me what I could have caused (it took a phone call, 3 days after the retreat to wake me up to what I could have caused). He was just calling to verify that I had given the boy a cup of water with coffee grounds in it (like they normally did at the retreat). “Oh no,” I say, “I gave him two full cups of toilet water.” His response, “Oh Isaac, you could have just shut is down.”

Literally right after I get off the phone with the retreat’s lead youth pastor, I walk down the hall, into the conference room for my 6-month review. After hearing how great a job I had been doing, the two elders asked if I had anything to share with them. So I shared about the situation I was in literally at that moment regarding the investigation and the boy in the hospital.

They were VERY supportive, nothing ever came of the incident, but the story of my stupidity lives on in our area. Oh yeah, I’ve now been at the church for almost 10 years, and continue to do those area-wide retreats… although I’m not allowed to help lead any games! (from Isaac Terwilleger)

marko rating: gloriously stupid!

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I rented a woodchipper and got a bunch of day old food from the grocery store to do an epic food-fight. the chipper got clogged immediately, so I suggested that we just throw the un-chipped food at each other. I had a crowd of middle schoolers throwing pineapples and potatoes in each others faces, not to mention a whole lot of black eyes and split lips. sigh.

another time we were on a long bus ride and this kid asked me to pull over so he could go “potty.” I thought he was joking with me so I told him to use a slurpee cup- and he did. we pulled over and he threw it out the door. the next day his dad questioned me about it and i told him that i thought his kid was messing with me. the dad said, “when a kid has DIAHHREA, you should pull the bus over so he doesn’t have to go IN A CUP!” I had no idea at the time that a kid pooed into a cup on my bus. it still blows my mind.(from rob)

marko rating: fruit in the wood chipper = crazy idea to start with, then full-on stupid! diarrhea cup = unknowingly stupid.

week of stupid youth ministry moments, day 3

last week, i posted a list of 5 crazy things i’ve done in youth ministry and 5 stupid things i’ve done in youth ministry. here are a few of my “favorites” from the comments…

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We were driving back from Glorietta, NM through a construction zone at around 5:30-6am (no one on the roads) and decided to bob and weave through the cones. It was all fun and games with our convoy until the rear van (hauling the trailer) got pulled over by a state trooper. He at least had a sense of humor, telling us that he wouldn’t give any of us tickets if we went back and put all the cones we’d knocked over upright… That was a LONG morning! (from Matt Schaffner)

marko rating: stupid

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It all started with the game “heavy.”

You know….the mingling game where you say, “Heavy……ELBOW” and magically your elbow becomes the heaviest part of your body and it has to touch the floor. So we were doing that w/middle schoolers and we ended it with “Heavy……..TONGUE!” And 4 kids did it. We only had 1 Twinkie to give the winner, so we decided we’ve have them lick the linoleum floor and whoever made it the furthest would win the Twinkie.

But they didn’t stop. So we had them go out the room and down the hallway…..then over some rocky flooring…then over the carpet into the sanctuary (granted…….it was a *small* church, but….still) and then back.

After taking some photos, and on the way back, a little voice inside my head said, “This is stupid…..probably should stop it.” So I called it a tie (they had to split the Twinkie) and asked them to take photos of their tongues.

Both girls had bloody…..bloody tongues.

One was like bloody and dirty too.

Another girl came to youth group the next week and showed me her tongue…it was all infected – she had to go to the doctor and take some spray for her tongue for a couple weeks. (from adam walker cleaveland)

marko rating: wow, royally stupid. that one took guts to even admit, adam!

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Years ago…I filled our meeting room up at a retreat with small foam rubber pieces about 3-4 inches deep. really cool.. except that the speaker had no chance of communicating.. none… Null -set. The kids actually started something that resembled a “snow ball” fight with speaker boy being the target.

poor guy really… really struggled! (from eric venable)

marko rating: crazy. and i should know, i was the speaker.

week of stupid youth ministry moments, day 2

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!

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1. Tried to chaperone 22 boys (including one with a physical disability) by myself at a five day residential camp after all my other male chaperones cancelled out at the last minute.
2. Went on many float trips and pool outings with large groups of teens before I learned to swim at age 40.
3. Left a seventh grader at a mall and didn’t realize he was missing till we got back to church. His mom (and also a youth Sunday School teacher) still gives me a bad time about it.
4. Made an impassioned speech about not being late for a 4 AM departure the night before leaving on a mission trip. Guess who forgot to set their alarm and was late?
5. At 57, still doing youth ministry and reaching teens for Christ.
(from jerry)

marko rating: 1 – 4 = stupid; 5 = awesome

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1) Raced vans on the beaches of Texas during a mission trip – it was myself vs and elder of the church (who was also a dad of 2 of the students) – we got the vans up to 65 miles an hour on the beach with 10 students in each van.
2) Made it rain 900 gumballs on kids at a movie night featuring the movie “Bedtime Stories” – a few got hurt.
3) Filled the executive pastors office with 144 beach balls after a beach ball game at youth group.
4) Played noodle tag in the sanctuary (Presbyterian Church)
5) Credit to this next one goes to the students… They played a game of “Buck-Buck” in the terninal of the Houston Airport. they drew a big crowd.
(from john)

marko rating: 1 = stupid; 2 = crazy and a little stupid; 3 = crazy; 4 = crazy; 5 = crazy

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While at a Sr. High retreat, some of the boys (with my husband, the youth pastor) went to the White Castle across the street. This was after our curfew to be in the rooms. They purchased 2 Crave Cases (30 in each crave case) – between 4 of them. They ate a lot of them but couldn’t finish. So they just left them in the cases. In the morning they got up, heated them up with the blow dryer and ate them………….the smell in their room, on the bus and at our sessions was unexplainable! Of course you have to understand what White Castle is to appreciate this story!! (from shelly)

marko rating = crazy, but awesome. loves me some white castles, baby.

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!

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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.

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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.

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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!