READ THIS: When You Want to Punch a Student

By Josh Griffin on January 14 2014


READ THIS is a series of blog posts I write fairly often, hoping that they hit many of you right where you need it today. Maybe you’re reading this shortly after I wrote it or stumbled on it from Google months later … I hope it is at just the right time. Maybe you’re not in this situation now but need to forward this to someone who is. Maybe you need to print this and drop it in the bottom of your desk in the church office for the time when you will need it. Either way … READ THIS.

READ THIS: when you want to punch a student

First of all, don’t punch anyone. Second, they might surprise you in the future, don’t give up on them just yet.

Early on in youth ministry I would get intensely frustrated by a couple of students in particular. Typically they would be the mouthy kids, the ones who showed little respect or the ones who just didn’t seem to care. And then there were the troublemakers – who just couldn’t sit still or disrupted everything I tried to do. And don’t get me started on the student who was late to everything, couldn’t afford anything and who’s parents were always late to pick them up to boot!

  • I’ve seen God take a fringe kid and transform him into an incredible youth pastor.
  • I’ve seen God the Father show up big in the life of a troubled student without his biological father.
  • I’ve now seen God turn troublemakers into pastors.
  • I’ve even seen God transform pastor’s kids into authentic Christ-following kingdom workers.

In all honesty, I don’t sweat a lot of this stuff any more; I’ve learned when I’m about ready to give up on a student, that’s when Jesus steps in. Just when I think I’ve done all I could God’s Spirit changes their heart right in front of my eyes. It’s happened so often that now I just assume God is going to show up!

When I want to punch a kid … and it happens … I pray for them and know that God is probably going to use them in the most incredible ways ever. Hang on, God isn’t quite finished with them yet!

Josh Griffin is the High School Pastor at Saddleback Church and is a co-founder of DownloadYouthMinistry.com, a place to get trench-tested, inexpensive, downloadable youth ministry resources. He Tweets just the right amount of times @joshuagriffin and takes a decent picture on Instagram, too.



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