It seems that there is not a lot I can get in real trouble over. I can do a lot of crazy things and then pull the “I’m the Youth Pastor” card and it’s ok. I like to keep people guessing so this works very well for me. I have been thinking about the line though. I figure some things are just going too far. Now I know there are the obvious abuses, but I think I can be a bit more creative. So in the spirit of the Late Night Show with David Letterman, here is a top ten list of how to achieve a Youth Pastor Fail
10. Design Fail
So your church is finally getting on the ball with marketing. They have a designer, a nice logo, and they want to establish brand identity for the church so people in your community will recognize anything from the church. To achieve the design fail you need to remember that Youth should be unique not part of the whole brand. Come on, that church website is fine for the adults, but the teens want something cutting edge. Skip the designer putting out all that same boring stuff and make it yourself. You can find glass buttons and grunge textures everywhere. That is what the Youth today want. Look how they dress. Grunge is totally hot with the vintage tees and ripped denim. Then we all know everyone wants an iPod touch, so your website should look just like a giant iPod touch with grunge backgrounds and icons. The congregation may forgive you for this fail, but the Christian design community will officially put you on notice.
9. Fashion Fail
Now that your website is totally hip and rockin’ at the same time, it’s time to make yourself more appealing to the Youth. Go blow your annual budget on clothes at Hot Topic. Make sure you get plenty of accessories. You want the teens to know just how cool you are so they will accept you as one of them. By achieving peer status you can start applying peer pressure on them. We all know how powerful peer pressure can be.
8. Slang Fail
If the Youth don’t completely accept you after you redesign the website and change your entire wardrobe just to fit in, you must not be convincing enough. It is time to bust out the rap albums and learn how to speak their language. Much like Jane Goodall, you have to act like the Youth to be accepted by the pack. Before you know it you’ll be sitting in circles picking ticks off of each other, or whatever those crazy kids do for fun these days. The best way to learn slang is by listening to rap and reading a slang dictionary. Start by randomly working these words and phrases into everyday life so it won’t seem so out of place when you say them from the pulpit. Double points if you can rock the izzle.
On a serious note, we had an evangelist a while back that pulled off the slang fail so perfectly I think it was a slang epic fail. He ended up talking about what was cool when he was a kid. He talked about how “rad” use to be cool to say then “fresh” became the new cool word. Then he talked about how if things were really awesome you could say it was “bumpin’ fresh.” He went through a couple more words then reached modern slang. He looked over at the Youth section and said that now the cool thing is “bad” or if it is really cool “nasty.” He said nasty in that voice from the “wazuuuup” commercials. Then he said “you guys know what I’m talking about” and began to use “nasty” regularly through the rest of the sermon. The worst part was when he tried to get me on his side, “Nick the Geek, don’t you think the Word of God is Nasty?” I hurt for him. Of course not so much that I didn’t mock the epic fail by coming up with a new catch phrase, “bumpin’ nasty” not to be confused with the sexual reference “bumping nasties.” “Bumpin’ nasty” is reserved for impersonating the epic slang fail by referring to the absolute, unnamable, awesomeness of something that “cool” or “awesome” is not important enough to describe. Of course you had to be there to get it.
7. The Best Bud Fail
Now you look like the Youth and talk like them, so it is time to just jump in there and become one of them. Be their best friend they never wanted. Make sure you drop by during lunch at school and run them down at the mall. Find out where the cool place is and hang there all the time until there is a new cool place. It may feel weird going to the under 18 dance club, but you want to be closer to the Youth so get out of your comfort zone and figure out what this new dance called “the grind” is all about.
Free legal advice: This is an attempt at humor. Do not under any circumstances go to a dance club full of minors and “grind.” Doing so will result in jail time and a new friend to grind with.
Free social advice: While “grinding” may be popular and legal with adults, just don’t do it. Seriously don’t. It is all kinds of wrong.
6. The New Cool Spot Fail
The cool spot seemed to move every time you show up. Kids aren’t trying to avoid you so much as they can’t seem to stay in the same place for long because of all that ADD going around. Be careful you don’t catch it or … oh look a butterfly. Anyways, you need to stop chasing them and make your Youth room the new cool place to be. Make sure you get all the cool stuff. Rock Star and Guitar Hero must be featured prominently, and get black lights, lasers, strobes, disco balls, and smoke machines. We all know Christian music isn’t good so go ahead and play everything, rap, punk, rock, techno, and even some reggae just to even things out. To keep it Christian throw in some U2 every 4th song. If you want to go over the top get DDR on the big screen. Everyone loves DDR.
5. Rip Off Fail
If none of this has worked, then just do what every Youth pastor in America does. Rip off the coolest stuff for yourself. Rob Bell is popular so stop preaching and start recording your sermons in Nooma-esque format and play it for the Youth. That new Batman movie seems popular. Do a couple of series on the Dark Knight and being Two Faced. That designer you didn’t want to touch your website could probably throw some graphics together for you. Just ask for something that looks exactly like the movie with a few small changes to make sure it doesn’t violate copyright laws. That makes the art work easy.
That has been the first 5 of the top 10 YP fails. By themselves I don’t think the “I’m the Youth Pastor” card wouldn’t hold up. Do all of them and you are on your way to an epic fail. The parents are more likely to forgive these fails since you are trying to reach the Youth. It is the Youth that will think you are just a dork and stop listening. Oh that’s right, you aren’t nearly as big a dork as your Youth Pastor was. He tried to be like you and was mocked piteously, but you are cool enough to pull it off.
Anyways, next time I’ll post the last 5 which the Youth might like but will land you in hot water with the Adults … eventually.