The majority of my 30 years has revolved around youth ministry. Since I was 12 I have been involved in youth ministry as a student, an intern, a volunteer and now a youth pastor. I love youth ministry and I am blessed to work with students on a regular basis.
I couldn’t help but think, though, that my experience of youth ministry would be different had it involved a dark lord of the Sith. What if Darth Vader was your youth pastor?
Discipline wouldn’t be a problem if Darth Vader was your youth pastor. Youth ministry is filled with stories of disobedient students pulling pranks, causing problems or just generally running amok. Some of my favorite stories from youth ministry involve some amount of disobedience.
During a pillow fight once, a student got hit in the head with his own pillow. He was hiding a can of shaving cream in his pillow case. When the pillow/shaving cream hit his face, his face exploded. We spent the next few hours in the emergency room.
A student was once locked out of his cabin without any clothes. He proceeded to run around the entire camp naked, as everyone walked outside to see what was going on.
A group of junior high boys surrounded a squirrel and managed to capture it with their bare hands. Shockingly enough, the boy who caught the squirrel got bit. We spent the next few hours in the emergency room.
As great as stories like these are, they would disappear with youth pastor Vader. Darth Vader runs a tight ship because slipping up usually leads to death. Vader might have to make an example of one or two students. But once word got around that disobedience led to a force choking, the youth group would be a picture perfect portrayal of discipline…and probably fear.
Everyone in the youth group would have a growing and vibrant faith. We’re talking Acts of the Apostles faith.
Pizza would be multiplied.
There would always be enough rides.
Dodge ball wounds would be miraculously healed.
The faith in youth pastor Vader’s group would be so strong because Vader has strong feelings about faith. If anyone ever doubted he would say this:
“I find your lack of faith disturbing.”
No one would want to hear Vader say that to them. Fear would give way to faith and the youth group would be on fire.
If Darth Vader was your youth pastor then summer and winter camps would both be very extreme. Summer camp would take place beneath the twin suns of Tatooine and winter camp would take place upon the frozen tundra of Hoth. Normal summer camp activities like archery and horseback riding would be replaced by targeting womp rats and dewback riding. And every student at winter camp on Hoth would be given their very own tauntaun, which would act as both transportation and sleeping bag.
I don’t know if Darth Vader as youth pastor would create a very healthy ministry. Vader’s ministry would be built upon fear and dread. Youth groups should be places of loving and acceptance. A lot of students need a place where they can simply feel safe and wanted. I don’t think Darth Vader would cultivate those qualities.
What are some of your best youth group stories?