I love youth group. I loved being in youth group and I have loved leading youth group. I have never been a big fan of rules. When I was teen they didn’t help me – I spent most of my time either ignoring them or trying to figure out how to get around them with loopholes. As a youth pastor I wanted spend my time and energy on things other than enforcing the rules.
So I like to provide “4 guiding principles”. They have served me well and I love the culture that is created … especially as the teens begin to self-monitor and even coach each other.
I was telling my friend and fellow youth pastor Tripp Fuller about them – it turns out that he has 3 guidelines in his youth group. He calls them rules and since he keeps them to a minimum – he doesn’t shy away from making it clear that they are the rules.
I thought it might be fun to post my list of 4 and Tripp’s list of 3 and see what other youth pastors and leaders use to guide, harness, and navigate the wild world of youth ministry.
Bo’s 4 guiding principles
- Whining is not the way – it makes you look bad and annoys those around you.
- If there is an opportunity to make someone look bad, pass it up – we want to lift each other up and bring out the best in everyone.
- If there is a decision to be made, choose the option that is best for the group and not just for you.
- Don’t say anything about someone that you have not said to them.
Tripp’s 3 rules
- Don’t get arrested… or do anything that if you were caught might lead to you getting arrested.
- Don’t get pregnant… or do anything that might lead to you getting (or thinking about getting) yourself or someone else pregnant
- Don’t get hurt… Yes this is backwards and not fair but neither is life nor the parent of an injured youth.
So that about covers it! I would love to hear other lists and ideas that work. -Bo
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