All youth pastors have done it. And if you haven’t, you will.
You’ll play the game that goes sideways and a kid get’s hurt.
You’ll tell parents you’ll be back at this time and show up at that time.
You’ll get loose lipped in a message or conversation and say something you should not have said.
And then you have to apologize, or at least you should. There’s no more, “It’s not a big deal” in youth ministry. Everything is a big deal whether you think it is or not.
I came back from camp this year and had to apologize for goofing around with a kid because I flick him several times with a bandanna. It left bruises. Although that was not my intent, I did it and I had to own it. I was disappointed in myself. “Why did I do that?” I asked myself over and over again. “I knew better” followed. I was sick about it.
My flesh said, “It’s not a big deal”. That’s what the flesh says when it wants to justify something. That’s what the flesh says when it wants to get out of an apology. Trust me, I know that voice; I’ve had to apologize a lot over 30 years.
Let me offer some apology tips, some of which I borrow from a blog post by NextAvenue,
Get out ahead of it. If you know you screwed up, give a heads up to your pastor.
I’m sorry is not enough. Don’t be vague, be specific. Say what you did (or Said), why you did it and why it was wrong.
I’m sorry you feel the way
I’m sorry, but
Don’t shift or share blame, “If they/you had just…”
Watch your tone of voice.
If you have to apologize in person, look people in the eye.
If you have to apologize via an e-mail, write a draft and show it to someone.
If you can help it, do not text and apology.
Pray and reflect on the why.
Apologizing is never fun, but it has a purpose, to humble us. We can become arrogant and prideful in ministry and it eventually results in a fall. How far you fall and how much it hurts is up to and your apology.
A few words of encouragement before you go,
The reward for humility and fear of the Lord is riches and honor and life. Proverbs 22:4
When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom. Proverbs 11:2
But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” James 4:6