Youth Ministry Horror Stories

Youth Ministry Horror Stories

Last summer, I received an urgent request for prayer from a ministry friend. He was on a missions trip and a girl had wandered off, and no one could find her. This is one my biggest ministry nightmares (and likely yours as well), and was very relieved when she was quickly found. Once she was found, other ministry friends shared similar stories. You know – those ones we can sort of laugh about a few years later, only because things ended up ok. So I thought I’d share in the top 5 “horror stories” of my ministry – those times that seemed like a disaster at the time but thankfully turned out ok.

1. My first time teaching and the black eye.

This was my very first time teaching at my internship, and I was entrusted with the middle school boys. Scary in and of itself. Everything got off to a good start as we played a game of “Pictionary.” The game was going great, until this one student just kept drawing and drawing and drawing. No one could guess, and he was honestly drawing quite the masterpiece, so I let him continue ’til he was done. After a minute or so, he finished up and proudly waved to his work. That’s when another boy, one of the “prim and proper” types, got up and said, “Well that’s enough of this nonsense” and erased the picture. The artist, quite angry at the offense, then proceeded to punch the other boy. A scuffle ensued. My jaw has dropped at the sudden escalation. Thankfully I recovered quickly to intervene, but I was too late. The eraser boy had a nice shiner developing already. Of course, I had to go explain this to his parents. Not a banner day…

2. Demons at the lock in.

This isn’t so much scary story as horror movie story. We were having a back to school lock-in, and things seemed to be going alright. Yeah, we caught a deacon’s daughter smoking pot, and some of my volunteers and a few senior boys “accidentally” trashed a bathroom having a shaving cream fight, but other than it was going pretty well. That is, until about 3 am, when a group of three girls come up to me, needing to talk “right now!” I assumed typical teen drama. WRONG! Long story short, this one girl who was a visitor saw a demon. Ok. Apparently she sees them a lot. Ok. She’s freaked out, other two friends freaked out, so I just go with it and pray for them. No exorcism was performed, but by the end of it I was a little freaked out too. I also made sure all the lights were on, just in case. Because, you know, demons are afraid of lights.

3. Visitor goes to the hospital.

Bad stuff seems to happen to visitors at my lock-ins. Maybe this is why my youth group never grew so much. Hmm. Anyways, at another lock-in located in a completely different church in a different state, we had a guy and girl that came with some friends to the lock-in. They were a couple, and something about them just irked me right off the bat. They gave off the “We’re going to cause drama vibe” and I wasn’t wrong. Halfway through the night, they tried to get a little alone time, and I saw them trying to leave. I stopped them, but I was getting ready to leave and pick up the pizza, so I sent a volunteer to do the policing duty. As I am driving towards town (we were about 6 miles outside of the nearest city) an ambulance comes racing past me. Not a good sign. I pick up the pizza and am praying that this wasn’t for our group. Pulling into church, I see of course it is for us. For the visiting girl. Apparently, she had a “seizure” and had passed out. So she heads to hospital with a volunteer of ours in tow (who thankfully was a nursing student), and we try to contact the parents. Of course, she gave us a fake number, and apparently a fake last name. The friends who brought her weren’t much help (they didn’t know her, only knew the guy who had left to go to the hospital). Thankfully the hospital staff was able to track all that stuff down, but it made for quite an interesting night. She was ok by the way. Its funny how an argument with her boyfriend brought out the seizure.

4. The middle school girl takes out the youth minister.

During game time one week, we were playing a relay race where they had to run with shaving cream in their hands and pass it off to the next teammate. Its actually a really fun game. But thats besides the point. We were nearing the end of the game, and I’m running up and down the end line trying to see who is going to win the game. Apparently I wasn’t paying much attention because I ran over/got ran over (not quite sure of which way it happened) by a 90 lb middle school girl. Lets just say I’m nearly 3 times that size, and not a middle school girl. As I’m laying on the ground in pain, I am figuring that I probably killed the little girl. Middle school girls must be made of sterner stuff, though, cause she popped right up and said, “Get up grandpa!” Ok, she didn’t say that, but she probably thought it.

5. Student on way home from activity hit by drunk driver.

By far the scariest incident in my ministry happened when I was just a 20 year old in my very first summer youth ministry. We’d had a youth event, and everyone was heading home. I was taking a few students home, and we just happened to be talking about how when drunk drivers get into car accidents they manage to survive many times while the people they hit are often in worse shape. Not two minutes later, we pull up on a car accident. The cops were there, but just barely. Thats when one of the students in the back of the car says, “I think thats Aaron.” He was one of our students, and sure enough it was. He’d been hit by a drunk driver, and his car was completely totaled. He also wasn’t wearing a seatbelt at the time (the idiot) but managed to escape from the wreck with only a broken leg and a slight concussion. Scary stuff, but it could have been so much worse!

So these are my scary moments of ministry…what are yours?

Reposted from a post I made last year on parttimeym.com (which is now defunct)

 

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Bill Nance

Founder and President at Student Ministry Stuff
Bill Nance is a 15 year veteran of youth ministry, having served in churches across the midwest. He currently works at a non-profit organization that works with churches and other agencies that serve hungry people. He also spends time writing, training, and speaking to help youth ministries across the country. If you are looking for a talented speaker for your next youth ministry event, consider booking him today!

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