Hump Day Humor with Ben — Goatee Lament

Youth Specialties
May 26th, 2010

For many of our tribe, Wednesdays are long days. We get to the office around 8 or 9 in the morning (or 10 or 11 depending on how late we were out with students last night!) and spend much of our day gearing up for that night’s youth group. Some weeks it seems like no matter how far in advance we plot out our teaching schedule, there are always last minute preparations that eat away our day. How often do you go into youth group nights feeling rushed, like the carpet was just pulled out from under your feet? I hope I’m not the only one who’s ever felt like that!

Wednesdays often feel like a mountain in the middle of our week. Sometimes we just need a good laugh to help us clear the “hump day.” So, without further adieu, here is the this week's installment of Hump Day Humor with Ben! Sorry East Coast peeps, you're probably in youth group by the time I'm clicking “publish.” But for those of us on the West Coast, have a good laugh before youth group starts tonight!

Ok, we’ve had two fun weeks of good laughs in my Hump Day Humor column. This week, I think it’s time for us to be a little bit more real with each other. Vulnerability is key to successful ministry with youth, so hopefully this will be good practice for us! You see, I find that I’m falling short in one significant area of youth ministry. And I’ve heard confession is good for the soul. I’ve also heard that if we want our students to “be real,” we have to be the first ones to willingly open up and share about our shortcomings and how God is working on us. So let’s get this started. I’ll go first. I must confess…

…that I can’t grow a goatee. Somehow I manage to meet every other expectation for the “male youth pastor.” I know my way around the guitar enough to strum out “Lord I Lift Your Name on High” with the best of them, and my mad djembe beating skills make up for what I don’t know on the guitar. Flip flops are my chosen footwear from April through November, even here in rainy Portland, Oregon. I have the trendy glasses (arguably a trend started by Mr. Nooma himself, the one and only Rob Bell) and I definitely rock the faux hawk. My wardrobe during the week is made up of solid color t-shirts emblazoned with the logos of NYWC, youth camps, 30 Hour Famine or my youth group. But, as we know, some of these shirts are OTW – One Time Wear. These are the shirts that were supposed to be hip but majorly failed. Yes, cheesy church camp, Jesus may be our “Life Savior” but that rip-off Lifesavers t-shirt design was cool in … oh wait, never! However, OTW t-shirts aren’t all bad! When I’m shopping for gym clothes (all youth pastors have a gym membership, remember?) I only need to buy shoes and shorts, because my OTW t-shirts become gym shirts!

But I can’t grow a goatee to save my life. In recent ads on facebook, Youth Specialties has declared this year’s NYWC as “The Largest Gathering of Goatees in America.” Thanks for pointing out my one and only flaw as youth pastor, YS! And what about the female contingent of NYWC? Last time I checked, a girl with a goatee wasn’t the norm among female youth workers.

Believe me, I’ve tried to grow a goatee, and every attempt has been futile. I’m talking large gaps on the sides of my mouth and spotty growth on my upper lip. My attempts to grow a goatee look more like leftover food around my mouth. Two of my youth pastor buddies grow Sasquatch-like beards and goatees overnight. Any noticeable growth on my face takes 2 weeks! I think we need a “goatee-free support group” this year at NYWC. Who’s with me??

Have you ever had one of those nights around the campfire or after a touching time of worship with your youth and you just had this gut feeling that it was going to be an awesome night of testimony sharing, so you start opening up about your life and story, only to find that NOBODY ELSE SHARES? I surely hope that is not the case with this week’s Hump Day Humor column!

How do you fall short of the typical expectations (stereotypes?) of youth workers? Surely I’m not the only one who deals with such feelings of inadequacy in a crowded room full of goatees!

Youth Specialties

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the YS Blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of YS.