What do you do when a  kid (or kids) from a fellow youth workers youth group comes to your youth ministry?

If you’re in a small town, like mine, you’re going to have  kids church hop. Kids will make the rounds from youth group to youth group. You know those kids, they come for a few months and then they’re gone,. Trying to get them to commit is like trying to nail snot to a door.

Then, there are those times when a  kid who attends. another youth group regularly shows up at your youth meetings. This can be a little awkward if you’re friends with the youth worker of that church. It’s even more awkward if you’re not friends with them.

So,  do you tell that youth worker their kid was in your youth group the night before?

I have a standing rule, if I know the youth pastor, and I know one of their kids has attended my group,  I give them a heads up the next day. It’s what I would want them to do for me. I would want them to tell me if one of my students was at their group because

  • That student may have a personal issue with me and is avoiding me
  •  I may be doing a poor job of helping that student plug into our ministry
  • I would want to know the kid is at least going somewhere

I consider it a professional courtesy to let the other youth worker know that their kid has been showing up to my group. I believe that youth worker needs the chance to investigate why their kid would be checking out other youth groups, especially if that kid is a leader.

I would not say that snatching other kids from other ministries is the unpardonable sin of youth ministry, but if you believe in reaping and sowing, I’d watch how you handle other church’s kids.

What do you think? Has someone ever “stolen” one of your kids and never told you? Would you (have you) stolen someone else’s kids and never told the other youth pastor or at least let them know they have not dropped out of church?

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  1. Joshua

    Don’t typically comment on this stuff. But the title caught my attention. I think even having the thought that you or someone else stole a student is just a wack mind set. Like you have some ownership over the student for them to be stolen? Praise God they are still being fed not whine because they were “stolen”. Maybe it’s ignorant for me to question your order of concern but… you would be more concerned with meeting the spiritual needs of the student prior to being concerned with offending another leader right?

  2. Hey J, thanks for sharing your thoughts. This is not necessarily my concern, but it is the concern of many youth workers. I agree with you that no matter where a kid goes is a good thing and we should rejoice for them, but consider the youth worker with 10 kids and loses 3 to a youth ministry across town or across the street.

    Consider the youth pastor’s pastor questioning him or her why she is “losing kids”. Also consider if the youth worker losing kids and the youth worker gaining those kids are not friends or at least in conversations about those kids with each other, that’s kind of whack too.

    I know this happens with small churches and larger (or mega) churches.

    You’re exactly right, no one owns these kids, but shouldn’t we feel some responsibility for a kid if they have been attending our youth group for let say a year or more having invested in them, sponsored them for camp, prayed wth them, drove them home? Just sayin’.

    Thanks again for sharing.

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