6 Real Life Scenarios for Youth Workers

The following are scenarios that Brian has actually been faced in his youth ministry.  Here, he offers them up with the hope that they may be helpful to you and/or your leadership team as they seek to care well for your students.  One idea may be to engage a few of them in a youth leader meeting in order to discuss them.

1. A 10th-grader who is involved at your local church tells you that he’s smoking pot (illegally). He also tells you not to tell his parents. What would you do?

2. A high-school senior guy is dating a junior girl and you find out that they are sleeping together. But before you do anything about it, he turns 18 while his girlfriend is still 17 (a minor). How would you handle the situation?

3. Your Wednesday night youth group hasn’t attracted many new youth lately. In fact, there’s been a slow and steady number of youth quietly leaving. The senior pastor, your boss, begins to pressure you to get more students coming to your Wednesday-night youth group by an increasing number of gimmicks and games. He also gets parents to pressure you to “do whatever it takes” to get them to come. What are some first steps you would take?

4. A high-school guy is struggling with his pornography addiction. He comes to you for help and accountability. You suggest installing Internet accountability software. He agrees, installs the program, and puts you and his girlfriend down as his accountability partners. But, one night, he falls and clicks away at inappropriate websites. You see the report and so does his girlfriend, who proceeds to dump him and to tell all of her friends—at their private Christian school. How would you intervene?

5. If you’re a female youth worker and a high-school teenage guy asks you for a ride each week to youth group, what would you say (switch the scenario for a male youth worker and a teenage girl)?

6. You’ve finally acquired a solid team of youth worker volunteers to help with discipleship, music, and a variety of tasks throughout the week. One of them (a college senior) shows particular strengths and gifts in ministry and teaching. But one night—as you are decorating the church for Christmas—a dad shows up, pulls you aside, and tells you that this gifted youth volunteer is sexually molesting his 15-year old daughter. Understandably, he’s fuming and is even making verbal threats against him to you. But he doesn’t want you calling the police because he doesn’t want his daughter’s name dragged through the mud. What would you do?

Brian Cosby is senior pastor of Wayside Presbyterian Church (PCA) on Signal Mountain, Tennessee, and adjunct professor of historical theology at Reformed Theological Seminary, Atlanta. He is the author of over a dozen books, including Giving Up Gimmicks: Reclaiming Youth Ministry from an Entertainment Culture and Rebels Rescued: A Student’s Guide to Reformed Theology.

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