Teenagers Leaving Early

Alright one of my pet peeves in ministry is for couples (or really anyone for that matter) to leave early and go off and do something else while their parents think they are at church. Part of me says that if they are lying to their parents that is their parent’s problem and not mine. Part of me says that I should partner with their parents and try to help keep their kids safe. But I have been at this for 10 years and I still don’t know the best way to handle things.

Here are some of the problems that I have. Let me know how you handle them.

1) Scenario One: (this one happens every time) We are at a late night function. Things are going well, and suddenly someone says, "I’m going to McDonald’s to get something to eat." That immediately follows with a chorus of "I want to go"s. I I have flat out told people they couldn’t go. Said that they could go but not take anyone and my official response is generally, "if you go then you can’t come back"

2) Scenario Two: After asking "when are we going to stay late and hang out again" several times. When we finally do stay late and hang out some of the same ones who asked will leave early to go and hang out with each other at someone’s house. These are key leaders mind you, and they stay for about an hour and then they leave to go and hang out with their "friends" who apparently don’t include the rest of the group. (This one is more of a programming and group dynamics problem than a procedural problem)

3) Scenario Three: The aforementioned people leave early thing. Our event ends at 10 and couples start leaving at 9:15. Actually the same is even true for non-couples. I want to call their parents just to be mean. One of the things that I have done in the past is have a sign-in and sign-out thing. But unless a parent actually calls me to check on them it doesn’t do much good. There were days back when we were smaller that I would call parents and let them know, but I guess I am just lazy now.

So I am sure that these are things that have come up with your youth before. Let me know how you make it work.  

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