I had the pleasure of taking some of our students to see Disciple, Decyfer Down, and Satellites and Sirens last night. When we got there, I immediately noticed that other youth pastors had the opportunity to bring their students, too. I saw them right away. We’re not hard to find at Christian concerts. We stand out like worship leaders at a pastor’s conference. I don’t think we stick out like sore thumbs. When was the last time you noticed a sore thumb on a stranger? No, we are more obvious than that. We have patterns. We have habits. And these are some of those habits, and why I think they happen:
- Wear a Christian t-shirt to the show. It’s a lot like wearing a Red Wings jersey to the Joe. It says, “Hey, they’re on Team Jesus, and that’s my favorite team!”
- Mix it up with a band t-shirt, but rarely one from the bands on stage, and definitely not from a band that rocks out with their socks out It conveys to the students that you’re cool and into music, just like them. “Disciple’s rocking the stage? Neat! I got this Third Day shirt when I was a teenager. I’ll wear that.” You have to have seen this numerous times.
- Whatever form of Christian t-shirt you wear, make sure it is tucked in. The tucked in t-shirt is like the mullet of midsection wear: it’s a little formal, but it’s ready to party. Employing the tucked in t-shirt shows that you aren’t too stuffy to get casual, but it also puts the braided leather belt on display, which is like saying, “I may be wearing a t-shirt, but I’m still in charge here.”
- Blind everyone with your camera. I’m definitely guilty of this, as my coming soon facebook photo album will show. You’ve got to chronicle the event. Plus, having lots of pictures lets the parents, deacons, and your boss know that you weren’t there just to have fun. You were practically too busy to have fun.
- Dance. Rhythm optional. If you dance to the music, the students will know that you are enjoying yourself, which means you’ll have something in common with them. It’s also a good way to burn calories, and this might be the only chance you get to do so this week.
- Maintain eagle-eye focus on anyone that looks like they could possibly be a teenager that is holding hands, even if they are not from your group. Blue is good. Pink is good. Purple is bad. How can you possibly look at the stage when you have to be on the look out? Where is their youth pastor? He’s probably in the back dancing with his shirt tucked in. Amateur.
- Walk around like you own the place. We’re probably all Christians there, which means we’re all working for God. Being a pastor makes you senior management, so watch out event security, I’m getting this picture. Remember, I have to show people I was working, too.
I committed to myself, my wife, and my future youth group a long time ago that I would never be found at a Christian concert with a tucked-in Christian t-shirt or dancing an off beat pedestrian dance. But that doesn’t mean I don’t display my youth pastor’s nature in other ways.
Have you ever noticed a youth pastor at a concert and just known he/she was a youth pastor? What made them so obvious to you?