How To Bring Control To A Chaotic Situation

Nothing good comes from chaos…

As I said in my last blog there was a season when we saw many new students come to the youth ministry.  The immediate reaction was “Great!”  Don’t get me wrong, it was great but it was also extremely chaotic.

Imagine walking around your youth ministry and instead of students praying or encouraging each other you hear F-bombs – also finding remnants of weed in the bathroom, and alcohol being sneaked in.  In short it was chaos.  This is not what I envisioned youth ministry to be like and I was not trained to deal with all of this.  As a result I learned these lessons through the school of hard knocks.

For whatever reason, if your youth ministry is chaotic how do you bring control without losing all of the students.  These three lessons were learned the hard way but I think they could benefit you.

 1. Rules
I am not a rules guy.  I like to go with the flow and feel my way through situation then having rigid rules I have to live by.  However, when you are surrounded by chaos rules bring instant control to the situation.  But you cannot have 100 rules or even 10 rules.  No one will ever remember them and if a student can’t remember a rule what do you think is the chance of them obeying it? My rule (yes pun was intended) is that you should have no more then 3 rules.  Mine were:

1. No drugs or alcohol
2. No violence or abuse
3. No swearing

 2. Parents
In moments of chaos parents are often critical.  They don’t want their student in that environment.  Most youth workers reaction to critical parents is to distance ourselves from them.  This is a BIG mistake.  Concerned parents make great resources.  They are motivated to come and help serve in the ministry.  They will pray for the ministry if you give them prayer requests.  If brought on board they will be an advocate for the ministry.  Really what it comes down to is get over your fear and mistrust and get parents involved in the youth ministry.  I guarantee that the chaos will disappear.

 3. Focus
When you are surrounded by chaos it is more important then ever to be focused on your purpose.  What are you trying to accomplish? Do that and only that!  For me it was introducing students to Jesus and those that know him becoming more like Jesus.  We changed everything to do those two things.  What happened is the simplicity of doing two things it allowed us to rein in the chaos.

So what happened after we made these changes?  We had some students leave, we had some students come to Jesus and we had others become more like Jesus.  Oh ya, and the chaos went away.

So when things are chaotic in your ministry what do you do?

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Tyson Howells

Tyson is the associate youth ministry director for Vanguard Youth Ministry Institute. He has been a youth pastor for many years in Winnipeg as well as in Edmonton. Tyson is passionate in seeing relational youth ministry that results in youth that are passionate about following Jesus. He still leads a small group at the youth group in his home church.