Home Youth Leaders Articles for Youth Leaders Where’s the Line in Youth Humor?

Where’s the Line in Youth Humor?

“The line” is such an important thing to keep in mind. Comedy has gotten darker and more risky over the last few years, which means that many youth pastors have an ongoing question going through their mind: “How can I stay relevant without crossing ‘the line?’” I’ve had a ton of friends forget to ask themselves that question, and I’ve seen it cost many of them their jobs. It is hard to say specifically “this is where the line is” because it changes from church to church. But as you think about where yours is, keep these things in mind:

Use your head
Famous last words to youth workers! If you have to ask yourself, “Is this crossing the line?” it probably is. If you know that you don’t have the best judgment, then make sure you ask someone you trust before you make that video or post that graphic.

Be sensitive
NEVER make any jokes about rape, disabilities, depression, homosexuality, abuse, etc. Your jokes can easily alienate you from a student struggling with very real and tough things. There is no way that a student wants to talk to you about struggling with a personal issue when you just made a joke about it. In short … if it is doubtful, nix it.

Know your church culture
Sometimes, the things students find funny and the things that the elders and parents at your church find funny don’t line up. While it can be a pain when we think that some of the people at your church “don’t get youth ministry,” really try to pick your battles. Is a funny bit really worth the parent phone call or the unpleasant meeting with your senior pastor?

Just some stuff to think about next time you take the stage or are about to make a joke!  

Previous articleHow to Know if You Can Trust Your Gut Instinct as a Leader
Next article5 Signs Your Small Group Ministry Needs a Tune-Up
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!