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…


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!


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.

2 thoughts on “week of stupid youth ministry moments, day 4”

  1. i was leading a worship service for youth with the theme of Abandonment (and how Jesus can relate, etc.) right before the service, i did a quick google search for pictures related to abandonment/abandoned places. after looking through thumbnails of the images, i saved some and placed them into a power point presentation.

    at one point during worship music played in the background as i scrolled through the pictures now enlarged, on the screen for the students to see.
    i showed pictures of abandoned cars and buildings, etc. some of the pictures were from an abandoned factory.

    unbeknownst to me, on the wall of what appeared to be an old break room in the factory was a large poster of a nude woman. i hadn’t noticed when i looked at the thumbnail sized photos on google.

    so there we were, in the midst of worship, and on the 12 foot by 12 foot screen was a nude woman.

    it took a few gasps and snickers from some Junior high boys before i realized what was on the screen. i quickly skipped to the next slide.

    that was 6 years ago. to this day, no one has ever spoke of what happened.

  2. This one time, my youth director wouldn’t stop the bus for me to go to the bathroom even though i had to go number 2. He said to go in a cup. I told him i was serious and he just laughed in my face. I grabbed his slurpie cup and went…yeah…it was diarhea. I went and told him and he laughed. He opened the door and i threw it out the bus and ran back to my seat while everyone laughed at me. My dad got him fired. :)

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