You talk to the kid before, after and during program. Nothing you do seems to stop him from being a distraction. You hate to admit but sometimes wish he just didn’t show up. That’s normal.
There will be disruptions in youth ministry. You are not alone and that’s because youth ministry is messy. You deal with teens and you deal with life, it will get out of control. But, you can’t ignore the problem because:
OTHER TEENS WILL STOP PAYING ATTENTION
A disruptive teenager can be frustrating for the other teens. They will only deal with it for so long. If a teen is very disruptive teenagers will either stop coming or start to resent the individual.
LEADERS WILL GROW FRUSTRATED
It’s difficult to connect with a disruptive teenager. If a teenager continues to be a distraction it will burnout your leaders and if you lose your leaders your ministry will suffer.
YOU’VE MADE COMPROMISES FOR ONE PERSON
You want to be flexible; however, if you continue to cater your time, attention and energy to one person you will burnout too. A disruptive teenager will take a lot of your time and energy.
If it ever gets to the point where you want to kick the teen out take these steps so it doesn’t escalate into something bigger.
STEP 1: CREATE A THREE STRIKE APPROACH
Even if you currently do not have disruptive teens in your program have a plan in place for your leaders. Make the first point of contact a warning, the second should be a discussion and the third warning is a discussion with parents.
STEP 2: GO BEYOND THE CURRENT SITUATION
If it goes to the parents invite the parents in for a discussion about the situation. Ask them if something is happening in the life of the teen that might cause them to act out.
You could uncover a situation of bullying, depression, or just feeling overwhelmed by school. Most times a teenager will act out in your program because of something going on.
STEP 3: DEVELOP A PLAN WITH PARENTS
If something deeper emerges talk with the parents and the students about a fourth chance. Give them an opportunity to prove that the teen can handle themselves. But, warn them of the consequences if the behavior continues.
STEP 4: ASK THEM TO TAKE A SEASON AWAY
If a teenager still cannot behave then ask them to take a step away for a season of time (We usually do 3 weeks). Let them know you just want to give them time to reflect on whether they want to be at your program.
It might be hard to ask a teen not to come to your ministry, but you will give the other students and your ministers opportunities to breathe and focus. In the end your ministry will be stronger for it.
STEP 5: CHECK IN AT A LATER TIME
After the season is up sit down with the parents and teenagers. Evaluate whether or not the teen is ready to be a part of your program. Let them know that you love them and want them there, but they need to want to be there. If they are ready invite them back. If they are not ready give them more time.
No one likes to ask a teenager to leave and no one likes a disruptive teenager. It’s not an easy situation; however, with a plan you can protect the program and at the same time show love to a teen searching for attention.
Question: How do you deal with disruptive teenagers? Do you think it’s too extreme to ask them to leave? You can leave a comment by clicking here.