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Comedian Thor Ramsey wants your youth ministry stories

Comedian Thor Ramsey is doing a story on youth ministry and contacted me asking for my most humorous and/or most touching moments in youth ministry.

I have a couple great stories, but the one that stands out in my mind happened last year in the airport on our way home from a missions trip. I had the game Catch Phrase with me to help us pass the time on our flight. While standing at the luggage claim, it started beeping in my backpack. Of course, as Catch Phrase does, the beeping got faster and faster. All the strangers standing around immediately gave me nervous looks and quickly backed away! I franticly tried to dig the game out my bag and as I did so, the beeping also got louder and louder. Finally I reached it and took the batteries out so it wouldn’t beep again, but whew, I fully expected the bomb squad to tackle me at any moment! The expressions on the faces of other travelers was priceless! lol

Thor would love to hear your most humorous, dramatic and touching moments in youth ministry, too. Post ‘em in the comments below.


Posted on February 27, 2008

  • Chris

    It was only the second mission trip we’d been on, and I invited my senior pastor at the time to come along, with the intention of showing him what a good job I was doing. Needless to say, everything that could go wrong did, from getting lost, to not having the right tools and clothing and finally culminating in having an accident in the church van. The name of the driver of the other vehicle? Jesus. We ended our mission trip by crashing into Jesus.

  • Heather

    My first summer at the church I’m currently at was an interesting one. The first trip was our junior high mission trip. It was disaster after disaster for that trip. First we didn’t have the right hookups for the trailer, so we ended up pulling it without lights. The second issue was the number of seats. One of the moms had a “15” passenger van, but really it was only a 12 passenger and she had never mentioned that. All the things went wrong during the trip that could have gone wrong, including one of our clients passing away before we got there. At the end of the trip, one of the adults had to leave early with a couple of the high school youth that were helping. Her and I had to switch vehicles I would have enough seats to get all of the youth back when everyone was leaving. As we were loading up, one of the high schoolers locked the keys in the other adult’s car I was borrowing. In order to use the Triple AAA membership of one of the other youth directors on the trip, I had to pretend to be his wife. I have never lived it down. To make it even funnier, his wife was pregnant at the time, so you know how the rumors were flying. It was quite a crazy trip!

  • http://www.serialyouthpastor.com Chris

    Mine is a little long. Here is a link to the post I made about it.

    http://serialyouthpastor.com/2007/01/13/relational-ministry-part-2/

  • http://www.erikwithak.com Erik w/a “k”

    We were crossing the border from Mexico back to the states (after a long/good missions trip) and I told our students they had to be quiet and not say a word. When the border police asked if we had any weapons, one of our students raised his arms and flexed and said, “Just these guns here.”

    We had to empty out absolutely everything we had. Every suitcase, every nook and cranny.

    Ahhhh…I love students.

  • Rebecca Brant

    Hmm… I have two great stories- the first I’m not sure if it can be used in a sketch, but it is our funniest story so far (and there are many!) It’s mostly about my husband, and he has told it many times, so I’m sure he won’t mind me sharing.

    Andy has been a youth minister for several years now. His first ministry was a weekend YM in a small town while he was in Bible College. We were dating at the time. After church one day, he was meeting with his sponsors. He started the meeting by handing out a list of items he needed for their next “coffee house.” Then he started his devotion for the meeting as the sponsors skimmed the paperwork. A minute or so in, he began to hear snickers. Pretty soon, everyone in the room was giggling. Knowing he must have misspelled something (he’s notorious for it) he stopped his devo and asked what it was. One of the men (also an elder) cleared his throat and said, “Well, Andy, I have to know- just what IS ‘arousal whipped cream’?” Aerosol. Arousal. Yeah… Needless to say, he never lived it down. The YM who wanted arousal whipped cream. Of course, when we got engaged, we got several cans from the church and friends. For the honeymoon you know!

    The other story I wanted to share is about one of our kids in the group. We live in an urban area, and a majority of our kids are coming from rough backgrounds. When we moved here, we realized that up till that point, we’d had a pretty rosy life- both from small towns in the Bible belt, blessed to be raised in intact Christian families. Met at Bible College, blah blah blah. Andy found his place with the kids fairly easily, but it took me alot longer. It wasn’t until God allowed us to go through some really tough times, though, that we really started to grow and learn how to love these kids. In a month’s time, our apartment was burned down and I gave birth to our first child, six weeks early. While trying to buy a new home and waiting for insurance money, we lived in a friend’s backyard (in the snow) in their 25 ft camper. It’s also where we brought our baby girl “home” to. It took alot of months, and alot of love from our church and families to start to get back on track and out of the “why me” rut we were in. It was only later that we realized how good God had been to us. He opened our eyes to a new understanding of hurt and taught us to lean on Him. Now we could begin to really empathize with our kids and their pain, and truly testify to God’s faithfulness. The kids watched this whole process in us too. They told us later they could tell when Andy was dead inside and just going through the motions. They prayed that he wouldn’t leave ministry because of this. But I think the most telling event that God used to show us how far he’d brought us was a simple statement from one of our guys. Andy was taking him and a new friend home one night. Andy was asking the kid about themself and things like that. The guy turned to his friend and said, “See, I told you. He’s not like other adults. He really LISTENS! And he cares!” Wow. We have always strived to be that kind of people, but to know that Andy really was getting through to them, that we were past the “pity me” stage, that God was helping him to be “different” was a great thing. Andy was called to be a YM, but these tough times had tested him. It was such a blessing to realize we had come full circle to be stronger in our faith. God really turned our lives upside down, and all for the better!

  • Alicia Barnes

    I would have to say one of my most unique and memorable moments in Jr.High youth ministry is when I was told by one of my students at camp that another student had pooped in the sink that morning. I didn’t believe him but knew something had to have happened so I called for my accused student to find out what had gone on. I said. “I was told that you pooped in the sink and I just wanted to know what really happened this morning.” He just looked at me and said “Yeah, I pooped in the sink” as if we were talking about him choosing to brush his teeth or something. I was caught off-guard at his truthfulness and he proceeded to tell me that the toilet got clogged up the day before, he had to go to the bathroom that morning, so he thought the best idea was to do it in the sink- and then he asked me if he should have done something different! It all seemed to make complete sense to him and he felt he didn’t have any other choice! I didn’t really know how to respond to his truthfulness or his logic so I had to take a bit of time to think through how to explain what he did was not okay and decide on some consequences. It was almost a surreal conversation standing with him that afternoon. Definitely one of the most memorable ones I have had yet!

  • http://www.rodarters.com Rod Arters

    Is Thor running out of material already that he needs ours? haha.
    Here is a brief one that doesn’t involve a mission trip to Mexico. :)

    I was talking to a 50 year old woman at my church about the social networking websites like MySpace & Facebook and how they can be of some danger to teenagers. Her reply was, “Yea, my face is scary”.

    I didn’t have the heart to correct her.

    Shameless plug: I have written an article for parents regarding the dangers of MySpace. You can read it at: http://www.rodarters.com under “articles”.

  • http:www.solidsourceyouth.com Ryan Smith

    A while back our group would take one night a month and have a Gals and Guys Night Out. In the rush to piece together last minute information for a particular G&GNO I neglected to proof read my write up for the church bulletin. Apparently so did our secretary, because instead of reading Gals and Guys Night Out, it read Gals and Gays Night Out. Needless to say, the lesson was learned-proof read, proof read, proof read and then have someone else proof read. At least I got the parent’s attention!

  • http://www.thorramsey.com Thor Ramsey

    These are great. However, I thought I’d tell you what exactly it is that I’m doing. I’ve actually written a screenplay called “Youth Group.” It’s a comedy about a youth pastor in crisis. Imagine “Saved” without the vulgarity and with an honest portrayal of evangelicalism. That being said, the more detailed your stories are the better.

    I had one youth pastor share this with me:
    Early one morning he received a phone call from one of his kids.
    “Can you come get me?”
    “What time is it? What’s going on?”
    “My dad just killed my mom.”
    The kid’s mother had left home a few months before leaving the teenage son, his older brother and their dad. The dad owned a gun shop. One morning while driving to work, he drove by their mom’s new living quarters. He saw her getting out of some guy’s car. He pulled over and shot them both, then went home and said to the boys, “You need to get out of her, I just killed your mom.”

    Not funny, but true. There’s more to the story and it’s very moving and showed how the youth pastor was a lifeline for this kid.

    Another youth pastor shared with me a story about his assistant youth pastor who was very popular with the kids. The assistant YP would hang with the kids. Everyone loved him. This happened to be in an upper class suburban neighborhood. It turns out the assistant YP was casing the students homes. They all had expensive baseball card collections and whatnot. He ended up stealing around $100,000 worth of collectibles. Someone pressed charges and he’s serving three years in prison.

    I’ve had a major studio’s faith division express interest in what I have so far, but I just want to make sure it’s going to be as good as it can be in terms of story-line and funny moments.

    Keep them coming…

    And I love you for it!

    Thor

  • http://www.associatedcontent.com/bridgetidelaney Bridget Delaney

    I was doing one of those sense exercises where you ask everybody to close their eyes and imagine the scene as you read it. It was a street on a fall day and you saw a person walking down the path, he turned and you realized it was Jesus. The first question was, “What was the first thing Jesus said to you?” One of the boys immediately answered, “Who farted?!”

  • ryanblue

    one time my best friend was outside and there was a dog and she said here kitty kitty

  • http://beforhim.googlepges.com B.J. Allen

    Att Sunday school one morning, kids were talking aout a school dance. Trying to get conversation started for Sunday School, I asked, “Why do kids go to school damces. Why did you go? they answered in various ways, still simply conersating. I asked how much it cost, and foun out it was dollars. I said, “Why in he world would you pay 5bucks to go to a silly dance. I mean, you can see your friends else ere, you didn’t even dance with many people”, etc. etc. I asked again, and finally one boy was honest, and said (not of hmself, but in general”To get laid”. The girls cringed, but I loved his honesty. I said yes, that’s very true. Boys will do anything to get sex, blah blah blah. And it kept being brought bbck up as I rreally ant them to be able to discuss these issues openly.

    Later, I found out that the same boy, just before Sunday school, had said to another girl, while laying foose ball (out of no were) “I think yor pretty” She said, “Thanks”. He then said, “I like you”. She felt awkward, got red, continuing the game in silence until Sunday School started.

    The same boy that has the guts to flt out tell a grl very bluntly (in Jr high they are) that he likes her then is very honest about kids h age ad say “boys go to school dances to get laid”, and a clueless youth worker goes with it and keeps talking abot it, not knowing the recent episode until later at youth group.

  • http://www.sunnyhigh.org Chuck Jespersen

    I had a sophomore tell me about his new (old junker) of a car that he had just purchased right after getting his license.

    I asked him if he was excited about this new milestone in his life. He told me he was indeed excited, but also concerned about his safety. He explained that his car radio changed stations each time he turned the steering wheel (some kind of weird wire-crossing with the power steering).

    I told him that was minor compared to the junkers that I had growing up.

    He solemnly and gravely looked and me and said, “No, dude, you don’t understand. What if I’m changing my radio station, and my car steers itself off a bridge?”

  • Michael

    We always have guests fill out a card with their name, address, etc. so that we can contact them later that week. Our church secretary makes these for us and she cycles through various colors that she makes them on. The latest batch happens to be a lime greenish color.
    A few weeks ago we were in Sunday School. I was doing my announcements when a couple of late-arrivers came down the stairs to the youth basement. One was a regular, one I had never seen before. I welcomed the regular and he joined the circle. Turning my attention to his oriental friend I said, “I’ve never met you before, my name’s Michael.” He replied, “I’m Greg.” So I shouted at some of my youth workers across the room, “Hey, let’s get this kid a green card!”
    Not my best youth ministry moment.

  • Dave May

    When I attended college on in the south I had the oppurtunity to go swimming in the James River. As a California boy the only snakes I ever saw that where dangerous where rattlers. So when I saw a black snake sunny itslef on a rock I thought nothing of picking it up and scarrying a few girls from our college with it. (come on we all know that the only difference between college boys and middle schools boys is a little more hair, a lot more wieght, and a drivers license) However, when one of mybuddies explained that I was holding a water moccasion I had to ask what it was, and imagine my surprise to see those fangs dripping venon. However, the snake was rabbed around my arm and so if I let go of the snake it was going to get me.
    I often use this story to illustrate how when we play with sin it often has us in its control when we think we have it under control.
    What makes this even more funny is that several years later while attending a camp the speaker used this story to ilustrate the need for ingritty. However, he told the story as if it had happened to him, and as if he was the guy who picked up the snake. What made it real interesting is that he mentioned one particular particapant by name and this person he mentioned was and is a close friend of mine to this day.
    So…I called this friend of mine and we talked about the events of the day, and how this gentleman knew about it. It turned out the camp speaker had been on staff with my friend, and as it turned out was using one of his old messages almost word for word to discuss intergirty.

    Can we say …BUSTED!

  • http://timschmoyer.com Tim Schmoyer

    @ Josh: LOL!! Wow, there are some great stories here, but that one seriously made me laugh out loud! That's awesome!

  • http://lccyouth.wordpress.com/ Jamie McBride

    I was teaching through the book of Matthew. We were in chapter 19 looking at verses 1-12 when one of my younger students asked what a eunuch was. As I desperately tried to think of an easy answer, one of my other students volunteered an answer, “It is someone from the country of Eunecia.”

  • http://joshburnham.blogspot.com josh

    http://joshburnham.blogspot.com/2006/10/you-thought-i-was-what.html

    and then there was one time we were in a guys bible study group and i had a boy laughing so hard during a bible study he literally puked. he was laughing so hard he got the hiccups and started burping, which made all the other guys laugh about that, which made this kid laugh even harder. all of a sudden he started puking all over himself. the other guys quickly stopped laughing, the boys finally stopped puking, shirt and lap covered in partially digested hotdog, all the other guys wide eyed and mouthes open not knowing what to say or do and the boy mumbles, “that was the coolest thing that ever happened to me.” we got him cleaned up and he was fine, but we always laugh about that. little gross i know, but… well… whatever…

  • Dave May

    I was teaching through a similar passage regarding eunuchs, and faced the same problem. However, my senior pastor’s 7th grade son provided the answer.

    He shouted out, “My Dad is one because he is fixed like our dog.”

    Dave May

  • Chad

    I had taken a group of students to a six flags park. This one also had a water park attached to it as well. Around 3 in the afternoon a group of our guys found me sitting and cooling off with a cold drink in the air conditioning. They come walking up to me dripping water every where and excitedly tell me that “Joe” had just gone down the water slide in his underware. After blowing diet coke out of my nose I tried not to act disturbed and said excuse me. They repeated that “Joe” had gone down the water slide in his underware. About this time “Joe” walked in and I asked him did you really go down the water slide in your underware? He said “Yes, they made me go down in my underware.” Curious and slightly alarmed now I asked “who made you go down the water slide in your underware?” “Joe” replied “The Lifeguards.” “The Lifeguards made you go down the waterslide in your underware.” “Yeah, my shorts had buttons on them and they said I couldn’t wear them on the water slide. So I went in the locker room and took of my shorts and got back in line in my underware.” ” Nobody said anything to you.” “Nope.” In fact after that I went and rode a couple other slides and even lost my underware on the speed slide.” “Just out of curiosity did it ever occur to you that maybe not riding the water slide was the proper course of action.” “No, I was hot.” Unable to argue with that logic, I only had one other comment “What color is your undrware?” “WHITE.” To which all I could say was “Just go and don’t go back in the water park.”

  • Chris

    Here is my story. Our church has a tax exempt and charge card at our local Wal-Mart. Our ministry was planning a big lock-in and I ran to Wal-Mart for some last minute stuff. I was checking out and the cashier kept giving me the strangest looks. Finally, she said, “I can’t stand it anymore. What is this stuff for?”

    “Oh, our junior high lock-in this weekend.” I told her. She gave me a really funny look, then said, “Oh.” That was it. Just “Oh.”

    It wasn’t until I got to the church and was unpacking the sacks that I realized why she was looking at me so strangely. I had purchased 10 water guns, 5 rolls of duct tape, 15 packages of marshmallows and about 30 bandanas. I am surprised she didn’t call child services!

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