Youth Ministry War Stories


Youth Ministry War Stories

I just came from lunch with the youth ministry clergy person from our Connectional Ministries office. Part of his job is to oversee a spring spiritual life retreat, ever-so-Methodistily named “SLR.” I was involved with that retreat in the past and very familiar with the camp where it is held. The camp’s two primarily beloved features are its chapel and a beautiful waterfall. As we swapped stories over food (as youthworkers are wont to do) he related that at on the opening afternoon of a recent spiritual life retreat, just before churches began arriving, he was notified of the following: “Um, Sam… there’s a deer dying in the waterfall.”

And because it’s youth ministry, it’s obviously true. The deer concluded it’s death scene and was removed from the beloved waterfall without a single kid being traumatized. But the story made me realized we’ve never really taken the time to let you all swap stories; it’s high time to change that.

This is an all-call for your youth ministry war stories – those stories that are hilarious eventually. The best ones are generally not at all amusing in real-time, or at least not for the uninitiated. Send your submissions to with a brief bio & a profile pic that we can post with your article. Try to keep it under a 1k word count, and please just send stories that happened to you. These stories have a way of becoming tall tales when they hit their 3rd version. While I would love to tell you of the adult volunteer that punched a youth so hard in the face that he flipped over a railing at an amusement park, dropping 8′ to pavement and breaking his leg, I was not present; that happened to a youthworker for whom I once volunteered. And though I would love to relate the tale of a middle school youth that once on a retreat consumed only 6 sausage patties and a dozen chocolate chip cookies for breakfast, later culminating in a mid-nature hike pants-dropping, gastronomic event that would forever euphemistically be referred to as “dropping a Dupree,” that too is not my story, but one that happened to another friend in ministry.

I’m presuming you’ve stopped reading because those three stories have made you think of 6 of your own. Please pack those into an email and lets show these interwebs who is boss. I can’t wait to read them.




Photo courtesy of Jennifer Flora

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