5/18/2011 12:00:00 pm

Guest Post: If Your Youth Minister Dies

Posted by Tom French |

This post has been writen by my friend and youth ministry blogging guru, Graham Baldock.

We tackle the big issues here.


If you type the question "What do you do when your youth minister dies?" into a search engine you get very little useful info. You read miscellaneous articles about ministers dying, but nothing really for those left behind (expect for this nifty app). So... this post will try to reply to the question no-one is obviously wanting to have answered...

What do you do when your youth minister dies???

In light of Tom's brush with McDonald's-related-criminality we are simultaneously going to try and navigate this worst-case-scenario minefield (you can check out Tom's answer on my blog) and thus become the world's foremost resources on the topic.

I'm going to start by assuming that the youth minister was suddenly killed, not the casualty of a drawn out disease. This event was totally unexpected.
So what do you do???

As a teen...

1 - Take some time to sit with this. Let it sink in a little. Give yourself some time and space. Stick close to those who love and can support you. Hug your family and find a soft kitten to cuddle.

2 - Feel what you're going to feel. Grief, shock, denial, anger... allow the emotions to come. That's perfectly normal.

3 - Equally, give others some time and space to process this. The way they deal with it may not be the carbon copy of how you deal with it. That's okay.

4 - When you feel comfortable, talk to someone. It could be a parent, a youth group leader or a counsellor. Chat about the things that are raised in point 2.

5 - Avoid making any massive changes or great risks. Routine is important.

If you are connected to the church (as the minister or a youth group leader)...

1 - Be aware that you will go through the same things as the kids. Do steps 1-5 from the list above. It's okay for you as well. Take time and create space to care for yourself.

2 - Be around. You may not have all, or even many answers, but sometimes your sheer presence will mean more than a I-got-this-off-a-website-answer. This should be especially true if you are the senior minister.

3 - Offer help. Wrangle up some cash and offer discounted counselling sessions.

4 - Understand that for some kids, this will be their first experience of someone they personally know dying. Especially a person who is not elderly.

5 - Realise some of the that questions will be raised by members of the congregation. The youth and leaders may wonder about God's fairness. How someone who served God could be killed.

6 - Consider hiring a new youth minister slowly. Don't rush into a new appointment. Weigh up the candidates and be honest in your dealings with them. Nothing would be worse than making a selection that doesn't fit or having the person stumble into a mess they weren't expecting.

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