If Christmas Characters Were Youth Workers
By Kyle Rohane
The shopping is done. The presents are wrapped. The stockings are hung, and the halls are decked. That can only mean one thing: it’s time to watch the Christmas movies! Whether you prefer the escalating antics of Chevy Chase in Christmas Vacation or the classic stylings of Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye in White Christmas, most of us look forward to spending some quality time with these Christmas characters each year.
Some are tasked with filling in for Santa Claus, while others must discover the true meaning of Christmas. But no matter the difficulties they face, you have to wonder if they’d be equipped for the challenges of youth ministry. So we asked that very question: if our favorite Christmas characters were in student ministry, what type of youth workers would they be? So pour yourself a glass of eggnog and grab a gingerbread cookie or two as you peruse these Yuletide youth workers.
No chore is too mundane to wipe the grin off the face of this enthusiastic worker. What’s that? Is he actually whistling while he files medical release forms? The only thing that might take the spring out of his step is a sick day away from the job.
Whether the students are playing a game or there’s a job to be done, if this youth worker isn’t included, he’ll take it personally. His insecurity is as plain as the nose on his face. But with a little affirmation and a task that only he can do, his commitment to the ministry will be legendary.
This youth worker is a square peg in a round hole. He tries to enjoy youth ministry, but he can be caught daydreaming of other lines of work—writing or teaching or, perhaps, dentistry.
It’s hard to tell if this youth worker’s difficulties stem more from his own self-deprecations or from the unhelpful criticism of his volunteers who would rather goof off than help out. Yet his good intentions eventually rally everyone to get the job done.
This youth worker has the perfect Bible passage or historical quote to meet your spiritual needs. No matter your difficult issue, he can point you to the answer in Scripture. He may be a little long-winded, but it’s usually worth listening to everything he says.
He’s a perfectionist of the worst sort, and that means his volunteers are stuck on the job for two hours before and after the students. On Christmas Eve, they’re decorating the cold auditorium while he’s in his office, snug as a humbug in a rug.
Under the stage lights, this youth worker comes alive. His animated performance is captivating, and his jokes have people rolling in the aisles. But when he hops off the stage, he becomes cold and lifeless. Getting him to interact with students one-on-one would be a true magic trick.
All is well in the ministry, yet this youth worker still feels like the walls are closing in. Every staff meeting he makes the same complaint: “There’s no room for the students!” Yet, when worse comes to worst, he can usually find the space to make ministry happen.
No volunteers? No facilities? No problem. This youth worker’s ability to make something out of nothing is legendary. His ministry may have no budget, but the students don’t care. They’re too focused on his fantastic stories; his heart-probing questions; and, yes, his musical ability.
You drove in from the suburbs to attend the youth conference? How quaint. He came with his entourage from half a world away and brought a donation that would make Bill Gates jealous (who he actually visited on his way to the conference).
With pen in hand and eyebrow raised, this youth worker hunches over the attendance sheet. “Did you come last week?” Check. “Did you bring a friend?” Check. Worried that your address lists aren’t up to date? Never fear. This census taker is on the task.
Don’t let the long white beard and cane fool you. This guy still works with high school students—and they love him! His ability to keep up with social media, cultural references, and trendy styles is almost unbelievable.
When a student comes to him feeling down, sure, he could simply explain that God loves them. But where’s the fun in that? Better to drive the student around town so everyone they’ve ever known can tell them how important they are. He’ll also ask out of town loved ones to mail the student hand-written letters of affirmation. Whatever it takes (plus some).
You can tell this youth worker 100 times that his idea is flawed, but unless he tries it out himself, he’ll never believe you. He has to learn everything the hard way, even if it means loosing an eye (maybe his, maybe a student’s).
Every time this youth worker talks in front of students or sits to lead a small group, it seems like he’s under contractual obligation. He just knows he’s not the right person for the job. But when he really engages the students, it’s obvious that he was made to be right where he is.
Cindy Lou Who (from How the Grinch Stole Christmas): The Gullible Youth Worker
She may seem quite savvy, she might look real smart,
But tell her a pitiful tale, bless her heart,
And she’ll take it for granted as if it were truth,
Like “I can’t help tonight. I’ve a pain in my tooth.”
“My drumming hand’s throbbing, so I can’t perform.”
“My dog ate my parent permission slip form.”
Some day she’ll jump on our cynical train,
But for now she will think with her heart, not her brain.
The students loved everything about his predecessor, from his deep voice to his mercifully brief talks. This new youth worker’s longer sermons and manic personality give the impression that he’s trying too hard. But if the students’ hearts would grow a few sizes, they might eventually learn to accept him for who he is.
About the Author
The LeaderTreks Blog is proud to share the hard-earned wisdom of student ministry leaders from many different backgrounds and professions. From time to time, we will feature guest blog posts from writers other than our regular contributors. We include these posts to provide additional perspectives and insight that we’re sure will help develop you and your ministry […]