Monday, October 24, 2011

Youth Leaders/Pastors: Watch out for wolves!

I would classify the students that come into our youth ministry in 4 categories.

1.  Christian students.
2.  Students who are whoever they are hanging around with.
3.  Unsaved students.
4.  Unsaved students who want to attack the rest of the students.  These are wolves!

The students that are wolves are out to do damage and can hold your youth ministry hostage or scare students away.  We must not only watch out for wolves but if a wolf won't change into one of the other 3 categories we need to remove them.

Here are some characteristics of wolves so you can identify them:

1.  They have zero respect for authority and are defiant.  This student won't listen no matter what you do and will get very loud and ugly.  As soon as you identify them suspend them from your ministry.  We can't protect the rest of our students or ensure a safe atmosphere when we have a student that won't listen to anyone.  (this is huge, a student's response to correction is what we use to gauge are they a wolf or just a student that got out of line)
2.  They only listen to the youth pastor.  Wolves are crafty, they will act up until the youth pastor addresses them but as soon as the youth pastor is out of their site they are looking for their next victim.  Our students need to have the same respect for my leaders that they have for me.
3.  They are repeat offenders.  Again they try to be sneaky by spreading out their attacks.  We take notes on students we have issues with to catch this.
4. They attack other students.  If they start a fight, talk about fighting, bully or threaten another student they are a wolf and need to be suspended.

You may be thinking, "doesn't every student count," yes they do but we can't sacrifice all of the other students for the wolves.

In our eyes suspending them is ministering to them.  When we suspend a student here are things we do to minister to them through the process:

1.  We explain to them why they are being suspended and how their behavior is appropriate and that this kind of behavior will not help them in anyway.  They need to understand the why versus "because I said so."
2.  We notify their parents and ask them how can we minister to their student and offer to meet with them one on one outside of Wed night.
3.  After a student is suspended we follow up with them to see how they are doing, let them know we love them and are praying for them.
4.  Lastly before a student can come back we meet with them and their parent to set up a plan of action to ensure they don't revert back to wolf like behavior.

Lastly let me say I'm all about grace, Lord knows I was a heathen dog when I was a student so their may be exceptions to some of these rules but I still think it's something we need to be aware of and address if it comes up versus turning a blind eye and allowing a wolf to ravage our youth ministry.

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