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18 Youth Ministry Don’ts

 —  September 22, 2011 — 16 Comments

I got an email from someone asking for a quick list of basics as he started out in youth ministry. This isn’t the most perfect list in the world, but it was what I rattled off as a reply. What would you add to the list?

  1. Don’t do ministry alone
  2. Don’t hog the platform
  3. Don’t alienate the team
  4. Don’t treat everyone the same
  5. Don’t make tons of changes … yet
  6. Don’t reinvent the wheel
  7. Don’t let a month go by without reading a book
  8. Don’t sacrifice your Sabbath
  9. Don’t always say yes
  10. Don’t walk fast everywhere you go
  11. Don’t lock yourself in the office all of the time
  12. Don’t always be out of the office
  13. Don’t wish for greener churches — they don’t exist
  14. Don’t give up on your senior pastor
  15. Don’t leave the van messy
  16. Don’t expect a raise
  17. Don’t raise everyone else’s kids and not your own
  18. Don’t stop believing


Josh Griffin


16 responses to 18 Youth Ministry Don’ts

  1. Don’t worry when people give you complaints or advice.

    Buy an ereader

    Work with other youth ministers, but do not compare yourself to them

  2. Don’t stop dating your spouse, or having friends.

  3. Spend time with students outside of the weekly ministry or special events.
    Spend time equipping your students to live like a disciple, which is much more than just teaching them a couple Bible studies every week.

  4. Don’t feel like you have to eat all the pizza leftover from the lock-in.

  5. Don’t try to be a teenager.

  6. Don’t expect all your leaders to be as spiritual as Paul
    Don’t stop learning
    Don’t judge a situation too quickly
    Don’t forget that your leaders have real jobs and families of their own

  7. Don’t let Jr. High kids drive the church bus…regardless of how much they beg.

  8. Don’t ever stop praying.
    Don’t let your heart grow cold.

  9. Don’t make promises you can’t keep.
    Don’t trade programs for people.

  10. Don’t try to be Doug… or Josh… or Jake… or Kurt… or any other “Rock Star Youth Pastor”

  11. Don’t worry. Trust in your call and the God who has sent you.

  12. Don’t ignore the needs and wants of the parents of the youth.
    Don’t automatically kowtow to every last whim of the parents of the youth.

  13. don’t let kids vote on anything… unless you rig it.
    don’t ask your students about your job performance.
    don’t get an aquarium for the youth room.
    don’t forget to put the time an event will end on the flyer.
    don’t criticize your church’s leadership in public.
    don’t give middle school students free time.
    don’t let kids stay up all night if you want them to learn anything the next day.
    don’t play a game that includes drinking milk rapidly.
    don’t miss an opportunity to pray with a student.
    don’t submit a letter of resignation as a ploy to get a raise.
    don’t forget that leadership is a function, not a position.

  14. don’t change your group plans because of 1 or 2 kids
    don’t cancel your plans because only 1 kid is showing up
    don’t use the good quality balloons from the supermarket when playing the “balloon shave games” get the cheap ones
    don’t choose a mortgage agent off a bulletin board at a gas station

  15. Don’t quit
    Don’t stop believing… in yourself and the students around you

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