The Worst Youth Ministry Ideas Ever


Over the years I have been in many brainstorming sessions and spent many late nights sharing horror stories with youth pastors. These are the ones that take the cake.  Of course, names have been redacted to protect the innocent-ish.

Chocolate Slide to the Alter

That’s right.  Armed with a story that they mis-heard from an Uber-famous youth ministry guru, they concluded a Choctober event with the youth pastor unfurling a slip-n-slide down the center isle of the church sanctuary (you know the kind with with the oddly colored carpet laid down in honor of someone’s grandmother). Then they students pour chocolate syrup down the slip-n-slide like flower petals in some sort of bad idea wedding.  Then, the youth pastor took off their shirt (yep) and went down the slide, off the other end, and into the alter.

Crushed by a Beach Ball

Another youth pastor bought one of those eight foot beach balls for some game he read about on a website, and decided to test it in the gym.  They had plenty of time to rethink tossing it off the second story into the waiting arms of the seventh grader because it wouldn’t fit through the double doors, but nothing stopped them.  They deflated it a bit, moved it through the doors, then re-inflated it and had the student waiting far, far below to catch it.  They tossed it over the balcony and watched as the seventh grader was laid out flat by the ginormity of the beach ball.  There was a video made.  It was deleted.

Hot Tub Baptismal

You know, you can get those portable water heaters to make anything into a hot tub.  Bad idea.  Worse that the pastor found out from a picture posted online of his child in the hottub/baptismal.

Boiled Egg Eating Contest

You have a craft where you end up with WAY too many boiled eggs, and you have an opportunity for a youth game right?  Wrong. Everything went well until in the sudden death round (after eating about 8 eggs already) one of the students decides to take a shortcut and not remove the shell.  THEY ATE THE WHOLE EGG.  Explaining to the parents that it was the student’s idea didn’t help.

Spam-Toss at a Target

As far as this youth pastor was concerned, Spam was much better suited as a projectile than food.  So, they got the water balloon slingshot out of the closet and had some interns paint a target on some plastic sheeting.  They then held the contest in the room with the sacred floor, but made sure to put plastic all the way from the slingshot to the target hung in the middle of the room.  First team steps up, releases the spam and it shoots completely through the target onto the wall behind it.  They cleaned the chunks of spam off of everywhere, but the smell gave it away for a couple days.


When he is not playing with his four children with his wonderful wife, Jeremy oversees children, youth, and college ministries in addition to leading the evening worship service at Christ United Methodist Church in Mobile, Al. He is passionate about reaching people with the message of Jesus in a way that engages them with the movement of God. Jeremy is the Senior Editor of the Seedbed Youth Ministry Collective and the author of Reclaiming the Lost Soul of Youth Ministry. You can find a list of all his books, articles and resources for churches at his website: