If you have ever spent any time with teenagers in general, you know that they are able to come up with an excuse for everything. This seems to be particularly true when it comes to youth group. Sometimes teenagers have a good excuse for why they cannot attend a youth function or event, other times the excuse is shallow at best, and still other times the excuse is completely made up because they do not want to hurt your feelings (Let’s be honest, we have all made up an excuse to not hurt someone’s feelings). Here is a list of ten excuses that I have heard in my years of youth ministry. Just for fun, I put each one to a popular meme and captioned why it is a bad excuse. Perhaps some of you have used these excuses before, and I am sure that many students will continue to use them.
1.) “I have too much homework to attend youth group.”
Oh but you have plenty of time to watch tv, play video games, and goof off in study hall. Let’s not forget, your youth leader went to school too. They know what the work load is like… and he even made youth group on Sunday.
2.) “I have no friends at youth group.”
Seriously, what better place to make friends than at youth group? And if that doesn’t work, it’s a great place to bring your friends.
3.) “I don’t have a ride.”
In most cases, all a student has to do is ask for a ride. If this isn’t the case, leadership needs to come up with a solution to get kids rides to youth group.
4.) “I forgot about youth group.”
Actually yes, yes they do. All of the other students and parents do not seem to have this excuse. What you are really saying is that youth group (and probably God) are not a high enough priority in your life to care about remembering. Youth leaders can remind students all they want, but at some point some personal responsibility is needed.
5.) “I’m not going to the big event, so I’m not going to go to youth group.”
Youth leaders: We need to make sure that we are not excluding kids that cannot make it to the big event. Students can feel hurt or out of the loop when they are unable to attend the big even that is getting a lot of attention. While it is still a bad excuse to not attend youth group, it can also seem like there is no other option for students.
6.) “Youth group is not cool enough.”
If youth group isn’t cool enough, ask yourself why isn’t it? Youth group should be a safe place to hang out with friends and have a good time. Yes, there is a spiritual aspect to it, but it should still be fun. If students think that youth group is boring or not fun, they need to work with the youth leader to change this.
7.) “Youth Group is too late at night.”
What a terrible excuse. When I was growing up, my bed time was way earlier than all my friends, but I never missed youth group. This excuse goes hand in hand with the homework excuse. Time management is something you need to learn. Students in youth group are about to enter college. Too late at night is a relative term that no longer has any meaning. Get used to it, and don’t use a bad excuse.
8.) “I already know the stuff the youth leader teachers.”
First of all, no you don’t. Second of all, even if you did, the Bible would encourage you to live in such a way as to help others to learn. Be an example to believers. Help younger Christians to learn spiritual maturity. If you have already learned, then you can become the teacher. Phil 4:9
9.) “I’m going hunting.”
Occasionally I think that this is an inevitable occurrence and shouldn’t be held against the student. I understand that there are activities that are seasonal and you do not have much of a choice as to when to do them. However, When plans are always being made during the time of youth group without consideration of youth group time it goes back to some of the other excuses. You know when youth group is every week, and it comes down to making it a priority. There are plenty of other days you can do activities if youth group (and perhaps God) is a priority you can schedule around it once in a while. Parents should also consider planning things during youth group time. You need to be the example and set Christ and things above first.
10.) “I already go to another youth group.”
No one says you have to go to only one youth group. You can attend more than one. John Wesley would say to go to spiritual gatherings as often as possible, and so would Paul and probably Jesus. Granted, at some point the plate of a student is going to actually be full, but an effort should still be made to go to the youth group of your home church at the very least.
So there you have it. 10 excuses that I have heard students make for not being able to attend youth group. What are some of the excuses that you have heard (or perhaps made) to miss youth group? I grew up in a house where there was basically no excuse to avoid youth group, even when I did not like the other students there. It is a part of growing up in the church and growing up a Christian. Don’t make an excuse to not go to youth group, make an excuse to go to youth group!
Check out Why Youth Conventions are Important to the Church