So…your perfect planned youth ministry program night bombs….and bombs really bad. What do you do? How does the youth pastor recover? The game was a flop, your teaching didn’t land, the skater kids showed up, two of your committed leaders didn’t show up, and you break a string on your guitar while leading worship.
I am a pro at planning youth group nights that fail miserably. Welcome to Youth Ministry. This is how I recover from a bad youth group night:
1. Realize it is one night. Trust me, you will have many more nights to land a teaching.
2. The elements involved in a ym mid week program really don’t matter! More than likely students will not remember your beautiful crafted talk, but they will remember the compliment you gave them when they entered the door.
3. Your feeling of failure is really about you, and not the kids. Sometimes youth pastors are too hard on themselves. We love to be hyper critical of every aspect of our ministry. We rarely stop and ask our students how do they think God is moving in and through the YM. Although we (as the youth pastor) love to reflect about the accomplishments and success in OUR youth ministry.
4. Laugh it off. Make fun of yourself. Make light of where you blew it. Everyone else knows it, so speak to what everyone else is thinking. Humor is a great tool to challenge us not to take ourselves to seriously.
5. Drop it. Move on. Don’t dwell on the past. The night is over. Live and learn. And get use to it because there will be many, many more nights where your cute program turns into a trainwreck. I think the best youth pastors are the pastors who know how to unexpectedly maneuver in and out of awkwardness and high problematic situations.