It Happens: True Tales from the Trenches of Youth Ministry

It Happens

It Happens: True Tales from the Trenches of Youth Ministry

by Will Penner

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It Happens…

It happens when we least expect it…and when we try to plan for it.

It happens when we are new to youth ministry…and when we’ve been at it for a long time.

It happens when we’re by ourselves…and when the whole world is watching.

It happens when we’re spiritually full…and when we’re spiritually parched.

It happens where we live and work…and when we’re far, far away.

It happens while we’re paying attention…and while we’re distracted.

It happens because we failed to do something…and despite us doing everything right.

It Happens is full of “True Tales from the Trenches of Youth Ministry.”  We have collected stories from youth workers across the county because we want you to know that you are not alone, so that you can learn from their mistakes, and so you can be prepared when IT happens to you!

This book does not contain emergency response information, but instead amidst the 30 stories in this book, you will find the stuff that happens every day, how we dealt with it, and what we learned.

You’ll read about:

  • Bart Campolo’s tale of dealing with the backlash from a student’s sexting mistake
  • Hank Hilliard’s recounting of parents encouraging underage drinking
  • Karen Jones’ dilemma of whether or not to send a kid home
  • Amy Jacober’s story about being stranded in a snowstorm
  • Kelly Soifer’s account of visiting the ER with a student while at camp
  • Steve Argue’s story of the over-involved helicopter parents
  • Mark Montgomery’s cautionary tale of when volunteers date kids
  • Sally Chambers’ recounting of the youth minister witch hunt
  • Kenda Creasy Dean’s story of interviewing for a pastoral position…while pregnant

Will Penner, General Editor

Will Penner has been working with young people for more than two decades as a youth minister, teacher, coach, and principal. He is a popular speaker for youth events and youth leader trainings, and he is a popular youth ministry consultant.

He has written for five publishers, and has served as the editor of The Journal of Student Ministries and Youthworker Journal. He lives outside Nashville, Tennessee, with his wife, Christine, and five children ranging in age from 2 to 20. You can contact Will through