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How to Make Tough Decisions

Guest Post by Tim Hart

The other day I had lunch with Dustin.* He’s like a lot of you: He has a full-time job but serves as his church’s Youth Pastor as well. He shared that this year he had to remove a student from the youth ministry because this sixth grade boy has some anger issues and had become a distraction for the whole group. There were numerous times when this student would just break down and have a fit in the middle of the youth room.

Dustin is now ready to consider allowing this boy to return to the ministry. As he’s been discussing this, some parents of regular attenders have shared something to the effect of, “If you allow this boy to return, I won’t be bringing my kids anymore.” Dustin and I discussed how to minister best to this student, while still allowing for the concerns of the parents. When tough decisions need to be made, here’s a short process that might help:

  1. Consult input from your leadership team and other wise council and determine when and how to allow this boy to return. (See how to bring him back here!)
  2. Communicate with current parents  and students that you (and the leadership team) have made the decision that you think is best both for the ministry and for this boy.
  3. Carry through with your decision. You’ve prayerfully considered this. You’ve sought wisdom. You’ve made a choice. Now act on it. Let the parents make whatever choice they want.
  4. Care for everyone, always (including parents that might have pulled their students out.) Even if they leave for a season, don’t love them any less than Christ.

Are there any steps I missed? Any you disagree with? Let me know in the comments below!

*His real name has been changed to Dustin for this blog post.

Tim Hart is has recently started blogging. You might want to check out his stuff at Unpaid Youth Pastor.

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jgriffin@churchleaders.com'
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!