Pastor of Pranksters?

If you have just finished up summer camp you are probably doing a bit of evaluating on the week's events.  Chances are some pranks went down in your camp.  Let me ask you a question: Are pranks on your list of things to "repeat" or on your list of things to "never repeat?"

Most likely you will not have the word pranks on your list of things to repeat.

Believe me, I use to be a mastermind behind pranks. I loved them. I have hilarious stories to tell. But I've changed my opinion of them after it finally showed up on my list of things to "never repeat."  

During one of my camp experiences with middle schoolers I will never forget sitting in a corporate worship session observing a couple of kids who were emotionally hurt from a prank while others were obsessed with strategically planning their next move. Because of my tolerance for pranks (and sometimes subtle encouragement) I had driven teens to distraction.  

Some might argue that pranks create memories (and I use to be in that camp), but I've seen pranks more often than not (in a camp or retreat setting) be a real distraction from the spiritual takeaways that I so wanted for my students. I'll never wear the title "pastor of pranksters" and I'm okay with that. The job isn't rewarding enough.

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4 Responses to “Pastor of Pranksters?”

  1. # Blogger Mikey

    I absolutely agree on this one, Terrace. Having just come out of 10 years of student ministry, I have seen pranks do considerably more damage than good. It takes an extremely mature group to pull one off that creates unity rather than destroying it. That kind of maturity is rarely found in student ministry (students and ministers alike).  

  2. # Anonymous Shawn M. Shoup

    Thanks for this... I agree, too.  

  3. # OpenID ebbinghaus

    While I think adults/pastors may have the intelligence to draw the line as to when something becomes distracting or harmful, I do not believe most teens have this ability. They have a harder time understanding what is or isn't appropriate and what can do harm as opposed to what is done in fun, without demeaning or belittling others. To them, they're one and the same.  

  4. # Anonymous Nick Arnold

    One of my old mentors used to say, "If you're not getting into trouble, you're not having any fun."

    Needless to say, he was one who pulled pranks all the time, even on his youth group kids (the axe bombing of the girl's cabin and pretending that a teen's car got stolen were two that stick out in my mind).

    At my current church and the summer camp we typically go to now, we do not do pranks. There is simply not a culture of pranks. This has been a blessing, because 1) the kids get to bed at a decent hour (by camp standards) and 2) the focus remains on Christ.

    Pranks create a sense of camaraderie and adrenaline rush that guys long for. BUT I think different activities can bring out the same results. For example, backpacking, paintball, and night-time capture-the-flag.  

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