Youth Pastors Gone Wild
It’s that time of the year again when students head to warmer climates for Spring Break. We hear headlines like Students Gone Wild or read reports of arrests, sex and alcohol abuse and wonder what can be done to stop the madness of shattered lives. There are a handful of ministries and churches who are deliberately reaching out to these students but oftentimes it is too little too late.
This phenomenon began in 1938 when Ft. Lauderdale hosted the College Coaches’ Swim Forum and 300 swimmers and their respective student bodies attended. Today there are 1.5 Million students going on Spring Break. Panama City, Florida boast of 18,000 hotel rooms prepared for 500,000 students while South Padre Island, Texas looks for 150,000 and Cancun, Mexico a measly 100,00. It is estimated that students spend $1 Billion during Spring Break just in Texas and Florida alone.
I want to suggest that Youth Pastors Go Wild, being creative and preemptive in ministry to help curtail the Spring Break machine. In talking with a number of Youth Pastors, I have gleaned some great ideas for making a difference with students before and during Spring Break. Sometimes the best defense is a great offense.
- Don’t just preach against Spring Break; teach Biblical Principles that students can use for guidance in making decisions.
- Plan alternative activities during the Spring Break time frame such as retreats or missions trips.
- Help your college students connect with campus ministries and local churches located in or near their universities.
- Design an ongoing ministry to college students even after they leave your youth ministry. With technology and social networking, it is easy to maintain consistent contact.
- Connect each college student with someone in your church who will be an encourager and accountability partner.
- Research organizations that will be working with students at the Spring Break locations and give that information to the students who insist on going. This way they will have an emergency contact or someone to call when things get out of hand.
- Form prayer groups for your college students that consistently pray for them year round, not just during the Spring Break season.
Youth Pastors and leaders need to be proactive as it relates to Spring Break or any other event that is designed to erode morals, diminish inhibitions, promote sin or devalue young men and women. Students are in a spiritual battle and we need some youth leaders to go wild with ideas that will proactively equip them for the battle!
Note: Some of the stats were taken from the following sources