Home Youth Leaders Articles for Youth Leaders 5 Reasons Why Youth Pastors Avoid Certain Topics

5 Reasons Why Youth Pastors Avoid Certain Topics

I’ve taught hundreds of lessons in front of teenagers, but at times … well, I avoid certain topics. I know the biblical mandate to teach the “whole council of God,” and I’m in—but there are certainly some reasons I skip over certain passages, or topics I shy away from. Here are five reasons I don’t cover something in youth group:

It isn’t part of my discipleship plan.
Here’s the primary reason I choose not to teach on a certain subject: It isn’t part of my discipleship plan for my students. I genuinely think it is OK to not teach on every verse of the Bible before a student graduates. It is OK to choose not to teach on a topic before they leave your ministry. You HAVE to make choices … and choices are good and reflect your prayers and your planning. Choices are different than avoiding something.

It is a topic I’m not an expert in.
Right now, we’re having an apologetics series—and in this first wee, our guest speaker had MY head spinning! I want my students to understand the foundation for their faith and even some of the deeper evidences for Jesus and our faith. But sometimes I leave it off the teaching calendar because it is easier for me to talk about something I’m more familiar with. And that’s OK; just make sure your students are hearing from someone who is an expert in that field!

It is a controversial topic.
The Bible is filled with some culturally disruptive perspectives on lots of topics. It is and has always been an upside-down, countercultural message. Often times, youth workers are close to pop culture and the teenage world, so these topics seem abrasive or show us as out of touch, old school or closed-minded. The honest truth is, just because something isn’t popular doesn’t mean it isn’t true. Have the integrity as the primary teacher in youth group to stand up for what the Bible stands up for.

It is an area I’ve failed in.
This is a terrible reason to not teach on a subject! In fact, I would suggest that your failures could serve as the strongest warning to others not to follow the path you’re on. Does it mean opening up yourself to your students? Does it make you vulnerable to blowback from parents and disappointment from contemporary Pharisees in your ministry? It sure does … but I know God is honored when we shine His light on the darkness of sin.

It is a subject I currently struggle with.
You avoiding a subject you struggle with in your faith is a sure-fire way to make sure your students struggle in that same area and learn to suppress it from their community, too. How naive, that as the leader of a ministry, we don’t go after the stuff that trips US up! One warning: Be careful how much you share, and never, ever teach about how you have complete and total victory in an area. Let’s be honest, we’re all one knucklehead decision from being another fallen youth worker.

What other reasons do we avoid certain topics when we speak to teenagers? Share one in the comments!  

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Josh Griffin is high school pastor at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, CA. He’s the co-counder of DownloadYouthMinistry.com and host of the Youth Ministry Garage Podcast. He's authored more than 20 youth ministry resources and is the author of "99 Thoughts for Small Group Leaders" with Doug Fields. Josh is a father of 4 who speaks a little, podcasts a little, Twitters a bit, and blogs a lot. You can find him at DownloadYouthMinistry.com!