The first day of school is supposed to be memorable. That's a little bit of an understatement for the teens at Perry Hall High School. Yesterday, on their first day of school, a 17-year-old student was shot by a classmate. (To read the story go here.)
It's during times like these when many people will ask the question, "Why?" hoping to find some justification to the situation that surrounds them. A tragedy like this can be difficult for anyone, for a teen it can be downright unfair.
Youth ministry would be a thousand times easier if you never had to deal with tragedy. But, it's going to happen in some shape or form. Some of the incidents you face will be personal (i.e. loss of a loved one) and others will affect the whole community (i.e. damage from a natural disaster). As a youth minister, you need to be there for your teens; therefore, you need to be:
No one likes to prepare for crisis; but, it's essential. Tragedies in your communities are not only powerful, they move quickly. If you don't prepare for crisis you will:
If anything, you need to make sure you can respond and the best way to do that is by having a plan, which should include:
No plan is perfect for every occasion; therefore, it needs to be flexible. When tragedy occurs in your ministry or community, the best thing to do is lean into the tension. Allow God to give you strength and courage to take the right steps. Above all else, make sure you have a plan, that you share it with your team and you trust that God will see you through.
What's the best piece of advice you would offer a youth minister facing tragedy in his/her community?