Stuff Christian Culture Likes

Stuff Christian Culture Likes


#11 The Youth Group Leader/Youth Pastor

posted by Stephanie Drury

The youth group leader is a special phenomenon. As the title suggests, he leads the high school group at churches (particularly but not exclusively at large warehouse-style churches). Youth group leaders range in age from fresh-out-of-seminary to their late 40s, but they all they want to be able to relate to high schoolers. This desire manifests itself in the following ways:

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1. The youth group leader tries to present himself as hip. This usually means the he will cultivate one or all of the following: a goatee, soul patch, fauxhawk, ear or eyebrow piercing (but only on the coasts; never ever in the midwest or the Bible belt lest the church leadership thinks he might be gay). He will sometimes sculpt his hair into the Joey Tribiani front-swoop that was popular in the mainstream around 1997. Whichever look he is going for, it will involve hair gel unless he is prematurely balding, in which event he will opt for the shaved head/goatee combo.

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2. If the youth pastor is in his late 20s or older, he often will forego trying to be hip and will endeavor to present himself as zany. This usually means there is a ‘goofy’ picture of him on the church website with ‘wacky’ quotes about his favorite ice cream flavor and favorite movie (never anything rated R). Everything he says on the website is summarized with an “on a serious note” moment where the youth pastor reiterates his desire to glorify God in everything he does.

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3. If a youth pastor is married, he makes a point of frequently talking about his wife in glowing terms. He will often say that he “married up” or “married out of his league.” You would think they never have a speck of conflict and that he defers to her at all times. (The youth pastor’s wife is a separate phenomenon unto herself and will be explored in a future post. She often wears Crocs, leads a Beth Moore bible study, and has VPL.)

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4. A youth group leader is invariably earnest and eager to present himself as ‘relatable’ and trustworthy. When talking to a youth leader he will make a point of being a Good Listener. He does this by looking into your eyes with a slightly furrowed brow, interlacing his fingers and nodding almost constantly.

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5. A youth group leader brings his acoustic guitar to youth events and plays every chance he gets. You will be hard pressed to find a youth pastor who does not play guitar.

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6. A youth group leader likes to say that he is “rocking” a certain look or is “so going to do such-and-such.” When summoning a group of people he enjoys saying “Let’s rally!” and when speaking to a group will say “We trackin’?” He is very careful never to curse. His job depends on this.



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Snap to it! Sanp in time!

posted August 13, 2008 at 9:48 am


Hilarious descriptions, and all too true.



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D. Lee Grooms

posted August 13, 2008 at 5:30 pm


In the first pic, the shirt tucked in just over the large belt buckle—where have I seen this before? Hmmmm…



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the nibbling marmot

posted August 13, 2008 at 7:03 pm


fantastic.



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fromhollandwithlove

posted October 16, 2008 at 9:30 am


Well said!Although you forgot to mention they often wear those “trendy” necklaces. Ie the wooden beads or shell ones.



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stephy

posted October 16, 2008 at 9:34 am


Thanks fromholland! I did a whole entry on the shell necklaces, I thought they deserved their very own post. :)



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Anonymous

posted November 12, 2008 at 7:37 am


this would fall under stereotyping. I’m sorry you feel this way. You might consider the drive these people have for doing all these silly things.



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bry

posted March 26, 2009 at 2:55 pm


As a youth minister, I feel quite proud that I don’t match any of the criteria in the post. To be fair though, my youth group is very tiny and would probably be huge (which is totally the most important thing, right?) if I sold out like this and stopped trying to teach my kids how to be real people.Decisions, decisions…



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Anonymous

posted April 2, 2009 at 7:15 am


This post accurately describes the youth leader of every non-liturgical church within twenty miles of my house.



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Anonymous

posted May 13, 2009 at 11:29 am


HEY!!! I am a women and a Youth Leader! What about me? If you are going to bash the youth leader get your facts right… not all of them are men!



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Holly

posted August 25, 2009 at 2:11 pm


I am screaming with laughter! This describes my youth pastor to a tee. From the earring to the acoustic guitar to the sad efforts to be cool. When my sister came home from missionary school she went on a few dates with him and everyone was all oooo! Maybe your sister will marry the youth pastor and then he'll be your brother! Cause that's how dope he was. Thank god she didn't.



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brianmetz

posted August 31, 2009 at 3:45 pm


I'm a youth pastor and I don't play guitar…nor would I describe myself as zany.Stereotypin' doesn't rock.Catch you on the flip!



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marie

posted September 1, 2009 at 3:42 pm


That's so true about their wives! And I would add that their wives are usually very pretty, because young Christian men have their pick of eligible Christian women who can't wait to get married.



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Amber

posted September 2, 2009 at 1:40 am


Hey, I was a youth pastor wife, and I wore an Independent hoodie and Emericas. I never attended one women's event or Beth Moore study in my years at the church, either. We even had Beth Moore come to our town (we were at a large church) and I turned down all offers by the nice older ladies who wanted to buy a ticket for the poor young youth pastor's wife.Perhaps if I had been more crocy and polo-shirty we would still be Christians. Still, I would love to see this promised post on youth pastors' wives. Don't forget to include the obsessive need to be sporty but not actually adventurous, since that's reserved for the guys' retreats!



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Patrick

posted September 8, 2009 at 6:02 pm


I made a joke about it back at my old church: Every youth pastor I have ever known has at least a goatee. I know one guy who wasn't a youth pastor, inherited the position when the old youth pastor moved, then started 'rocking' the goatee look after going his entire adult life (up to 43) without one.



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Chrissy

posted October 2, 2009 at 2:37 pm


I can't take it! Too much! Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh! Almost speechless, but I must somehow express my glee! Umm……..Congratulations?! No. I think I mean thank you. Yes. Thank you! You've made my brain so happy!



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Anonymous

posted November 2, 2009 at 4:53 pm


Hilarious, i had a youth minister almost exactly like this. He turned out to be the most deprave person I had ever met. Too funny.



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Anonymous

posted November 4, 2009 at 4:01 am


That describes my former youth group pastor to a tee! He went to jail for raping his seven-year-old daughter.



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Mel T

posted November 4, 2009 at 8:55 am


Let me guess. She got off with 6 months probation.



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mike

posted January 9, 2010 at 9:51 pm


this last picture is a picture of me from ’05…
i have never said any of those things.
i would like to let you know what it is that i have said if you are still interested.



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Chrissy

posted January 10, 2010 at 2:40 pm


Mike, What have you said?



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Your Name

posted January 10, 2010 at 6:39 pm


What is wrong with trying to relate to people? Dont we all do that in some way? So, why cant a youth group leader?



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Sandy

posted January 27, 2010 at 11:42 pm


Calm down, she never said it was wrong to do that. Its just the way it is. So much so that it’s obvious these guys are putting on a show instead of actually relating to the kids in a personal way.



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Your Name

posted March 25, 2010 at 8:42 am


while we’re stereotyping… the author of this blog post is an “I’m NOT the ‘goody 2 shoes’ preacher’s kid” with aims at being rogue and super-edgy. Aren’t we all impressed with how renegade this is?! Cynicism is the new “cool” in Christianity. That, and being an oh-so-vocal democrat that drinks mad amounts of free trade coffee and discusses public healthcare and the atrocity of living conditions world-wide…without ever actually doing anything about any of it. Except complaining, of course. Lots and lots of complaining, along with the occasional pot shots at anyone actually getting off their arse and trying to make a difference. Ah, steroetyping. How we love you…



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stephanie drury

posted March 25, 2010 at 10:53 am


Why do the disgruntled ones refuse to sign their names? Please see http://blog.beliefnet.com/stuffchristianculturelikes/2009/05/80-leaving-perturbed-comments-and-signing-them-anonymous.html :) You disgruntled commenters slide right into the stereotype. Not that I don’t. But I’m actually drinking un-free-trade coffee right now that was probably harvested by Nicaraguan 4 yr olds. Whoops a daisy. Preacher’s kids aren’t known for being goody two shoes. Quite the opposite actually, so I fit the stereotype there.
I’m sorry to have perturbed you with my assessment. By your response you’re might be a youth leader who puts product in his hair. I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings. It’s just what youth leaders do.



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Sarah

posted March 25, 2010 at 1:09 pm


Courageous Anonymous is clearly wrong because s/he smells.
Illogical? So is getting nasty and defensive as though a stereotype were directly personal. Cynical critics of the cynics make it so easy to upset them that it’s like taking bets on an unprotected sidewalk getting wet when it rains.
Chill, dude (or dudette). Getting your hackles up wasn’t the point. Dialogue was the point.



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Bill

posted March 25, 2010 at 1:17 pm


Drinking mad amounts of fair trade coffee IS doing something about the atrocity of living conditions world-wide, btw.



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Monica

posted March 25, 2010 at 4:20 pm


Maybe I’m just a heartless spawn from a minister(minister’s kid true but heartless not so much)but I don’t get the pull of fair-trade coffee. Yes it does a good thing. I do not disagree with this. But out of all the types I’ve had…they’ve tasted HORRIBLE.
Maybe I just need to get a better brand.
But anyway, to the obviously angry/embarrased Anon posters:
You know, when you’re being a coward and not wanting to say who you are….you’re fufilling the sterotype? And something about sterotypes. 1) It makes it easier to lump folks in groupings together when you use them. Kinda like what you’re doing to Stephy. Obviously she’s not a REAL christian, because she approaches a subject that has NOTHING to do with true Christianity with HUMOR. The HORROR. Maybe if you(you being most youth pastors) honestly did spend your time trying not to get the numbers up, use bait and switch to bring teens in, try to be “relevant” for the kids, or when you do have teens that trust you, become these unbearable taskmasters…she wouldn’t have anything to say. But ya’ll do those things because despite how some say it’s a true ministry to them, to others it’s a way to get an already vulnerable group to do what you want. Youth Church for me(and many others) was just training and tenderizing for adult church. Maybe I just went to a few bad churches, or maybe this is the trend: they smile, bring you in, and from then on make it impossible for you to make your own descions(that’s in another story itself)so that by the day’s end, you are like a druggie who needs their fix or they can’t functiont throughout the day.
I’ve seen the repercussions of that.
So when you, Anon, get your panties in a bunch over an entry on a woman’s blog(which is HER blog by the way) because it doesn’t go with your perfectly construed idea of Christianity, then deal with it. You may have not been burned by your method of teaching or being taught, but there is one out there. There is always one out there at every church.
And until the youth pastor gets off his tookus and actually lives out loud(sorry, steven curtis chapman moment)the faith that his family gave him(which includes loving the unlovable, being true to the cause, and being long suffering. This will go on and on, and occur over and over again.
As I told Bill, I may not know you from Adam, but I can go by what you say and that alone attaches to what I’ve been taught and have seen. If you are different, PROVE it. Don’t leave the burdeon of proof on Stephy. Good day.



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Your Name

posted March 25, 2010 at 4:35 pm


Well, I’m definitely NOT a youth pastor or even work in a church. I’m a 28 year old mom of two who’s spent years working with refugees and had a gosh-awful time getting “Christians” to do more than just talk. And drink coffee. And complain as they sat in the cushy Starbucks chairs about how “the church never does it ‘right’”… with that mocking tone that somehow makes it uncool to try something, ANYTHING, rather than just sitting and critiquing everyone else. And you are right, I guess drinking free trade coffee is doing SOMETHING. So, you got me on that one. It just grieves me to no end to see the Bride of Christ spending so much time cutting each other down and mocking each other’s efforts, when there’s a world of people who would SO benefit from us honoring, respecting, and supporting each other-even when we don’t agree on the method. And maybe this blog has actually made attempts at bringing people together, in which case I’m sorry that I came off so strong. I’ve never seen this blog before and only checked it ’cause I friend had it as a link in their status. I just felt so bad for all those guys or girls out there, who you just mocked, who have passionately tried to become “all things to all men” and made their best efforts at reaching a generation who’s stepping further and further away from the church because it’s appeared increasingly irrelevent to them. I’m glad that Jesus was okay with concealing his MAJESTY and looking like us, the sinful short-sighted humans, long enough to be relevent and speak in a way WE could understand-ultimately sacrificing his very self on our behalf. Even when we were as ugly as we were.
And my name is Mary, by the way.



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Monica

posted March 25, 2010 at 5:31 pm


Mary,
I just think you just want to be offended. Stephy nor anyone here is mocking those who are putting their hearts into it. If you read what I said, it’s those who are using it as a way to line their coffers and their pews that she’s poking fun of. Nothing more. Nothing less.
Now, the becoming the “all things to all men” is great in theory, but I refuse to get tripped up with that. I’m going after what you’re saying.
Now nowhere is she tearing down the church itself or it people. If you knew Stephy or at least read what she talked about, you would know this was not the case.
If anything it is her great love for the church which causes her to speak this way.
The things that are listened in this blog are not things that are needed in Christianity to function. Ya’ll don’t need Jumbotrons, or youth pastors with bleached tips and painfully akward sayings. Ya’ll need the fuits of the spirit, honesty in all things and maybe a dash of humor.
The church in general has been so caught up in keeping up with the jones’ financially, fitting in, and just doing the bare minimum to get by spiritually..it’s disgusting.
Yes there are those who are doing good and really have put their heart into being a minister. Those are not the folks she poking fun at. Those are not the folks I rail against.
Yes, the church needs to spend less time sitting on it’s rear, Mary. And yes it shouldn’t tear another believer down. I agree with that. But what I disagree with is your belief that what Stephy is doing is tearing down folks. She isn’t.
If she was she’d have a larger fan base let me tell you :)
To tear someone down, is to sit there and verbally debase them..why all the while saying “I’m so much better than you’ll ever be”. I’ve seen pastors do that, so called believers do that via overshare in prayers, and folks who pretend to be like you who come in guns blazing, spraying their anger on everyone without even asking what they mean.
THAT is putting someone down, tearing them down, or making them into nothing.
Also, I do not agree with your belief that all of us humans are evil, dirty, and wrong. Or as you put, ugly. I think humans have the ability for great good or great evil. Nothing more, nothing less. I am not so inherently flawed that I must sit here and think of how horrid I am when and if I decide to give my life to Christ(again). Maybe that is what really turned me off to the Christian thing. The whole having to remind myself of how much a speck of dirt I am. Or how my leanings are wrong because they don’t line up with the party/church line.
Done with that drivel. And done with this discussion(for now)



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Sarah

posted March 25, 2010 at 5:42 pm


Monica, Well said.
Hey, Mary. Your second comment was more understandable than your first one. And you’re right, this blog has brought a lot of people together. A lot of people who have been badly damaged by the church in its self-proclaimed good efforts to “reach people” and help them “get to know” Jesus, mostly by regulating behavior through fear, shame and guilt. I’m one of those people, and I’ve found a tremendous amount of healing and community at this blog.
I feel pity for those earnest young youth pastors too — trying to be “all things to all men” in all the ways Paul didn’t mean. Paul wasn’t talking about getting the latest haircut or wearing the fashion most promenaded by Kids These Days or acting in ways that make a person “more attractive” to “nonbelievers”; the churches Paul was writing to were engaged in a hugely diverse culture, and Paul was teaching the church members basic diplomacy so they didn’t run around acting like jerks and hurting people who might be approaching the faith from different backgrounds and perspectives and character strengths.
“All things to all men” has been used as an excuse to focus on “being cool,” but Jesus was never concerned with his image, ESPECIALLY as evidenced by how he put no stock in his majesty. His concern was finding suffering people and meeting their needs, whatever those needs were, which, if we have to use the word “relevant,” is what MADE Jesus “relevant.” Love is always relevant (okay, I can’t use that word anymore), it’s what allows people to relate to one another, and Jesus’ love was honest, and unconditional, and unaffected. A lot of youth pastors translate “meeting someone’s needs” to mean telling teens that they “need” to save themselves for marriage, they “need” to abstain from drugs and alcohol, they “need” to read their Bibles every day…but what all teenagers need — and all people generally — is Love. Which means understanding, and compassion, and a willingness to listen without putting conditions on the relationship. The manic way so many earnest young youth pastors try to be one of the kids is what is making them so irrelevant. Kids need adults who aren’t their parents to be honest with them, and to listen, and to care about who they are and what they need, more than about how they’re measuring up to standards. By trying to be “cool,” a lot of youth pastors are acting just like the parents who want to be their children’s “buddy.” The end result is a lack of respect, because kids sense powerlessness and fear and insecurity and phoniness — and an agenda — from a mile away.
We’re as troubled by the uselessness of the church as you are. But the way a lot of us here see it (I think) is that until we’ve thought about, discussed and processed what’s wrong, we can’t work out the best way to change anything. (This is a basic approach in therapy to dealing with and accepting past trauma. I look at this blog as a sort of group meeting for sufferers of spiritual abuse.) You can’t fix a problem if you haven’t figured out what it is; and humor is a great introduction to deeper discussion. And from what I’ve seen and experienced of the many churches I’ve attended, and the churches in which I grew up, the reason they’re “irrelevant” is that their focus lies in doing things and not in listening or thinking. Part of the problem with the church is that there’s so much Doing Things that there’s no authenticity, and there’s little doing anything of real value. And no one wants shallow love; no wonder teenagers, and adults, are looking for meaning outside the church. The church is, largely, not a place where one finds real love, but a shadow of it.
We’re here because most of us think that sucks, and we want to be a part of changing it. But I’m thinking it won’t be through conventional means.
Also, Jesus’ approach to people was to engage their minds through teaching and parables, as much as through healing and feeding them. He met the needs of the whole person. And the whole person is what has to engage with a problematic world to work toward alleviating the problems. Body, mind, soul.



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Monica

posted March 25, 2010 at 5:49 pm


Sarah,
Spot on! I wanted to say that about the whole being all things to all men bit, but that would have(yet again) taken too much space. You said what I was thinking with passion and poise. You rock.



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Bill

posted March 25, 2010 at 6:02 pm


Mary,
First of all, thank you for your refugee work. I have no problem affirming that your positive contribution to ministering to suffering in this world is greater than my own fair-trade-coffee-and-t-shirt-wearing.
I had written a much longer post, but only variants on what Monica and Sarah have said already. I would add only that I think it’s ironic that so many of Stephy’s scoldings take the approach of “be nice and change the church from within”, when in fact such scolders seem to expend little effort to understand Stephy where she is, how she got there, or why we love her. There are reasons for the way each of us are and think. She has brought together many of the Church’s disaffected! Spiritual refugees in our own right. Understand us! Let us also feel your honor, respect and support.
I would invite you to stay, and read, and get to know the wide range of people drawn to Stephy’s insights. Understand why some of us feel a new connection to the Invisible Church that we did not recieve in the institutional one. You will not be disappointed.



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Sarah

posted March 25, 2010 at 9:29 pm


Monica,
Reciprocally, I love what you said about us having the capacity for great evil and great good, and being done with focusing on how terrible and sinful and dirty and ugly we are. Absolutely right, and something I’m still learning to believe for myself. Thanks for your comments. You’re awesome.
Bill,
Ahh, “spiritual refugees.” I love it. Puts me in mind of the Decemberists song “Sons and Daughters.” And, as another member of our Church Invisible has said of you, “blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.” And so you are. Bless you.



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Mary

posted March 26, 2010 at 2:09 pm


I totally agree with each of you… that the world, and the CHURCH for that matter, is SICK of inauthenticity. “Doing” something for a check on a list, gold star on our chart, or pat on the back is absolutely not what I’m talking about either. I’d agree with ya… that kind of motivation is indeed shallow and not at all what Christ taught.
And I, too, have been in the “churchy” world-seeing it’s ugly side. I grew up a preacher’s kid-and seeing that ugliness and inauthenticity was a catalyst for me to fall into a deep depression… suicidal thoughts and doubting God’s very existance! And yet God WAS gracious in that He drew near to me in a time that I was shriveling up on the inside. After graduating for college, I started working for a church, organizing local outreach. That’s where I got connected with a large population of African and Middle Eastern refugees and poured myself into loving them where they were at-and putting my faith into action by doing as much as I could to serve them and to encourage others to get involved as well. It was AMAZING how God opened my eyes through building relationships with so many cultures. They’ve become dear to me.
But even in the midst of such great spiritual growth, I continued to see the “dark side” of working in a church setting. I too, have seen and fought being jaded by leadership that was a far cry from Godly in the way that they used their position. (Sexual harassment, lies, bullying, to name a few…) And I only say all of this so that you can see in me that I am NOT a Bible-thumping, closeminded person who takes joy in “being angry.” Honestly, I’m grieved. And Steph, I’m sorry that I came off so strong. I bet we’d be friends if we actually met face-to-face. And I know that this was in the name of humor. And maybe I have a sensitivity to mocking. I just want so desperately for my sphere of influence to see in me love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness… you get the drift… not so that I can “earn” my righteousness, but BECAUSE I’ve already been DECLARED righteous by an amazing Father! I want this “good news” to actually look like good news, even as it transforms my life.
I guess that’s why I reacted so strongly. To me, mocking-even in humor-can have a tendency to show dissension among believers instead of love. And if we can’t love and honor each other, then how can we love and honor the world? But you know what? My own first sarcastic comment to you was a LACK of love. And I am sorry for that. I should have said it in a way that would have created a calm discussion and not a defensive debate. Please forgive me.
Now, with sarcasm aside (and I SHOULD have said it that way to begin with), I did notice that your friends were quick to jump to your defense, Steph. They hated how I categorized you and summed you up the way I did. And they should have! You DON’T fit that stereotype! And because they know you personally (or through your blog, if they’ve been following you for a while), they know that your heart, your passion, is WAY more complex and genuine then how I sarcastically described you. I guess that’s my point. Although stereotypes exist because of seeming similarities in a culture or occupation, there are bunches of youth workers out there who might be hurt by your summation of their work, their passion. Especially since you don’t know their hearts or their backgrounds…just like I didn’t know yours. Juwt something to consider. But no matter what, I have learned a lesson today-saying things in love, even if we disagree, is the ONLY way to effectively communicate in a way that can affirm, challenge, or encourage the listener.
Thanks for humbling me.



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stephanie drury

posted March 26, 2010 at 4:04 pm


Of course I forgive you! Thanks for your thoughts here and your sweetness.



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stpehanie drury

posted March 26, 2010 at 4:16 pm


Just for context, I have been a mission/youth/refugee worker…so I’m not talking about anything on this blog that hasn’t applied to me at one time or doesn’t still apply to me.



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Monica

posted March 26, 2010 at 7:32 pm


And I also was a former missionary/youth leader/sunday school teacher.
So I not only defended Stephy because I know she was in the right, but because I know what she’s talking about. Despite those really good folks, there are a large sum of those who think it’s about DOING THINGS in way of having an excuse of not to really have a relationship with anyone except those who they allow in their sphere of influence. So again I say, it is not those who have the heart for this work she is “mocking” or “making fun of”. It is the ones who are nothing but a bunch of Martha’s: doing things and then getting mad when no one else wants to really do all those THINGS.
There will always be a love for a Mary, so I also forgive you and implore you to let go of that assumption.
Thanks.
Monica



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Chrissy

posted March 27, 2010 at 8:54 pm


Mary, I think the most secure youth pastors would read this post and laugh. Because it’s really funny :)
Monica, I don’t think the motives of people are what drive us to laugh together. Whether the people who fit these stereotypes are sincere or insincere doesn’t actually factor in to why we laugh. Meaning, we’re not just laughing at the “Marthas.” We’re laughing at all the ways people have tried to imitate Martha AND Mary. And I think Martha gets a bad rap anyway…but that’s beside the point.
What’s so hilarious is that people from all over the country can read these posts and be like “Wow! That’s my youth pastor!” The person may have the sweetest youth pastor, or the most hypocritical youth pastor, or something in between, but ultimately, we laugh because we each know the youth pastor who gives the empathetic head nod and keeps it cool for Jesus. His motives don’t matter. The fact that we’ve all met different embodiments of the same clone is so funny! And Stephy just sums it up so well. I guess I’m explaining this because I don’t think we need to defend why we laugh or say we’re only laughing at the hypocrites. Cuz really, it’s the hypocrites who make us cry, ya know? Stephy’s funny. Christian culture sucks. It makes for a grand ‘ol time for all! :)



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Monica

posted March 29, 2010 at 4:33 am


true that Chrissy. True that.



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Werner

posted June 15, 2010 at 2:31 pm


hahahaha I absolutely love this.
A couple really important things to highlight.
1. I’m a youth pastor and had such a great time reading this. It’s hilarious!
2. The attention to detail is so good… “are you tracking?” I’m guilty of that move.
3. And this is my favorite…. the last picture of the goofy guy with the afro is definitely one of my best friends hahaha!!! Can you imagine me in my office laughing my ass off seeing my friend mike (also a volunteer in my youth group) as one of the examples! The picture was when he was a student at UC Santa Cruz and helped out at a youth group over there. But, wow i can’t believe my friend is on this post.



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Deborah

posted July 19, 2010 at 7:07 pm


Am reading old entries, and this one really struck me, so I figured I’d comment.
I went to a church that was geared so much toward reaching teens…this entry describes our youth pastors down to a T.
The problem was, in the midst of trying to “relate” and be cool, the pastor/student dynamic was very shallow. There were so many kids in my youth group (myself included) that were falling through the cracks, and little was done to reach out to these. Only the ones that could fit in, that could kick back with the pastor and all act “cool” together, who could spout of Christian culture rhetoric were worthy of the pastor’s help and ministry.
I got so many lectures basically telling me to stop being different and try to fit in, and somehow that would solve all my problems, and no one asking me about what might actually be going on in my life. No one even asking me the state of my faith – I was either completely unsaved, or the most pious Christian, all because I stood on the sidelines (literally) and didn’t talk to anyone – so everyone made assumptions (and tried to help me based on their assumptions), and no one bothered to figure out the truth.
For teenagers that are really, seriously hurting – the ones who are actually dealing with problems that go beyond your average teenage angst of crushes and uncool parents – the kinds of pastors so intent on being relevant and hip offer very little spiritual guidance, or any way of genuinely helping. They want to be your buddy and pal, but don’t generally see you as a complex being that experiences things on any kind of deep spiritual, emotional, or psychological level.
I’m generalizing based on my own experiences, but I must say that it is damaging when the very people who are being spokespeople for God (or at least that’s how it seems from the student’s perspective) are passing you over and ignoring you simply because you don’t fit the mold and are too difficult for them.
Sorry for the long comment on an old entry… this is just something I feel so strongly about that I wanted to say something.



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posted March 18, 2011 at 5:07 am

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My contract with Beliefnet is up and I'll be back on my own ad-free domain again. Beliefnet has been really lovely to me and I appreciate their letting me write whatever I want without trying to censor anything. I will be back on my blogger domain sometime this week, after I figure out how to export

posted 7:56:21pm Feb. 21, 2011 | read full post »

#210 Mandatory chapel at Bible college
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posted 7:06:31pm Feb. 11, 2011 | read full post »

#209 Perceiving persecution
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posted 6:16:31pm Feb. 03, 2011 | read full post »

#208 Missionary dating
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posted 6:16:57pm Jan. 27, 2011 | read full post »

#207 Marrying young
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posted 6:33:07pm Jan. 19, 2011 | read full post »




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