A number of years ago I was almost ready to throw in the towel on youth ministry. Over the course of a few weeks it seemed like every time I turned around I was having to deal with another student acting up, and I was getting fed up. There were the kids who came from tough family situations that in many ways were expected to act up. There were the kids who were churchy kids who were being knuckle heads and they knew better. And then there were the kids who simply didn’t care. They were only there because their parents made them come and they were completely indifferent – absolutely apathetic.
During this time I reached out for help. I purchased Mentor Me – a series of CDs on which Doug Fields interviews several youth workers about various topics. God used one of those CDs to really give me some perspective, and more-than-likely, to help me continue on as a youth pastor. The title said it all: “Off the Wall Kids and Youth Ministry.” The person being interviewed was Les Christie. I later picked up Christie’s book When Church Kids Go Bad: How to Love and Work with Rude, Obnoxious, and Apathetic Students, from which the content of the interview flowed.
I recently took the time to read through the entire book, and it was such a refreshing reminder about the stage of life our students are in. It gives very practical ideas about how to shepherd and guide them through the turbulent waters of adolescence. Every youth ministry needs to establish healthy boundaries and appropriate discipline to help students. This book is a great tool to assist you in creatively, positively, and biblically establishing a healthy environment in your youth ministry. (Note: It could also easily be utilized and adapted by parents in the home setting.)