Bad Ideas in Youth Ministry #2…

Before I get started, I should preface this bad idea with some background info. This particular occurrence happened last year sometime while I was leading a middle school youth group in New York. One of my leaders and a few of my students were very big into skate boarding. The leader was pretty good and a few months prior to this, I witnessed him ollie over someone with his skateboard. I witnessed this because that someone was me.

According to Wikipedia (which isn’t a reliable source usually but for this particular purpose, it will suffice), an “Ollie” is “an aerial skateboarding trick, invented by Alan “Ollie” Gelfand in 1978. When doing an Ollie, the skateboarder leaps into the air bringing the board into the air without using their hands. The board appears to magically lift with the feet remaining in contact with the board throughout the jump.”

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Anyway, back to my bad idea story. One night after youth group, I was cleaning going to the fellowship hall to hang out with kids while we waited for their parents to pick them up. One of my leaders was riding his skateboard around and doing ollies and other various skateboard tricks that I know nothing about. Then one of the students who also is a skateboarder asked the leader to Ollie over him. I didn’t see anything wrong with this because I knew that the leader could do it (because he jumped over me before…and I am 4 times the students size) so I didn’t think anything of it and was about to let it happen.

But then the voice of reason showed up, my (now ex) girlfriend who was also a leader at my youth group. She made it clear to me that it was a terrible idea and I shouldn’t let it happen. She was right, of course, but I wasn’t thinking and I wanted to be viewed as the cool youth pastor. I stopped it from happening and I’m glad that she said something and I agreed to stop it. It could have been very bad for me, the youth ministry, and the church if that Ollie would have went wrong and the student got injured (broken ribs, arm, face, etc…).

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The moral of this story is…don’t let your youth leaders try to jump over your students with their skateboard no matter how good they are and how big of a person (me) they have successfully jumped over before. This has been an installment of Paul G’s bad ideas in youth ministry. See ya next time…

– paulg

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