Ahh, youth group. That sweet collection of terrible awkwardness and overpowering body odor. If you’ve spent any length of time in church, you’ve probably attended or sent your kids to youth group. If so, you know that it’s a perfect microcosm of both the church and society.
Here are the 14 kids you find in EVERY youth group (I was a terrible combination of #1, #2, #3, and #4).
1. The Pastor’s Kid – The pastor’s kid is usually either a hyper-pharisaical annoying moralist who knows all the answers (me) or a rebel without a cause who listens to death metal, smokes weed, and leads the smoke breaks at youth group. In rare “flip-flop” cases (technical term), he/she can be both during a 4-year youth group career. The even rarer “Two-Faced Pastor’s Kid” can pull off both simultaneously, although this requires a near sociopathic personality.
2. The Guitar Guy – Guitar guy does everything, including volleyball and using the restroom, with a cheap acoustic guitar around his neck. Because he has only been playing the guitar for 6 months, he almost always plays Green Day songs, which have somewhere between 1-2 chords per song. Depending on his personality, he will almost always evolve into “Beautiful Voice Heartthrob Guy” or “Greasy Haired Speed Metal Guy”.
3. The Answer Girl – Answer girl knows it all and ensures that everyone knows that she knows it all. She has the unique ability to raise her hand before a question is even asked. She is always picked first for Bible Trivia and last for just about anything else.
4. The Homeschool Kid – The homeschool kid has the social skills of a highly trained manatee, but he/she manages to overcome this deficiency with stunning amounts of enthusiasm. No, they cannot sustain a conversation or eye contact for more than 4 seconds, but they go absolutely bonkers during youth group games. Their enthusiasm is primarily due to their ecstasy over getting to interact with other humans.
5. The Early Puberty Guy – By age 10, Early Puberty Guy had a full beard, rippling muscles, and sung bass in the choir. He usually has the hygiene skills of a howler monkey, leading him to douse his body in copious amounts of Axe Body Spray. At least once per youth group, you can count on him hitting a 40-pound girl in the face with a dodge ball thrown at 140 mph. Kids either hate Early Puberty Guy or are in awe of him.
6. The Harmony Diva Girl – Harmony Diva Girl never misses an opportunity to sing harmony during worship, and likes to hold the final note of a song at least 3 minutes after the song has ended. Her parent is always a singer, and it’s not uncommon for them to deliver the special music at church functions. Harmony Diva Girl and Guitar Guy often team up to deliver an incredibly vocally rich acoustic cover of “Time Of Your Life”.
7. The Short Shorts Girl – Despite having sat through 4,391 talks (not sermons) on modesty and wearing a purity ring since age 4, Short Shorts Girl still pushes the boundaries of racy fashion. Short Shorts Girl wears the short shorts for one of two reasons: she is blissfully unaware that every youth group guy is staring at her or she is fully aware that every guy is staring at her.
8. The Shirtless Guy – Shirtless Guy never misses an opportunity to rip his shirt off and display his woefully underdeveloped physique. As soon as the temperature climbs above 50 degrees, you can be sure that Shirtless Guy will be strutting about with his vampiric skin and flabby pectorals on full display. Occasionally Shirtless Guy is also “Exchange Student Guy Who Wears A Speedo”, but this rarely happens.
9. The Backrub Guy – Backrub Guy can always be counted on to initiate borderline inappropriate contact with the girls in the youth group. Backrub Guy (also known as “Hug Guy”) knows that he can’t straight-up make out with girls at youth group, but he will push things as far as he can without drawing the ire of parents or leaders. Backrub Guy is unaware that there should always be room for the Holy Spirit between a guy and a girl.
10. The Inappropriate Prayer Request Girl – Inappropriate Prayer Request Girl is incredibly sincere but doesn’t understand that some prayer requests should not be voiced at youth group. Thus it’s not uncommon for her to ask for strength not have sex with her boyfriend or to stop doing cocaine in the school bathroom. Homeschool Kid doesn’t understand what any of these terms mean but all the other kids do.
11. The Awkward Sullen Sound Guy – No one actually knows Awkward Sullen Sound Guy’s (ASSG) real name. Despite having never missed a meeting, he has said a grand total of 6 words over 4 years. He typically speaks in a series of grunts and clicks. ASSG is best friends with ASLG (Awkward Sullen Lyrics Guy) and will grow up to be Awkward Sullen Sound Grownup Guy.
12. The Too Spiritual For Youth Group Girl – Too Spiritual For Youth Group Girl (TSFYG) has never actually attended youth group because her family is fundamentally opposed to the idea. She, along with her 19 brothers and sisters, attends church functions with her parents. Often time TSFYG and Homeschool Girl are one and the same. She also only listens to The Gaither Vocal Band and wears her hair down to her ankles. She will graduate college by age 16.
13. The Bad Influence Kid – Bad Influence Kid often, but not always, comes from a “bad home” (whatever that means). The “good” families get very nervous about Bad Influence Kid, fearful that he/she might teach their kids how to do freebase cocaine or set up a gambling ring. It’s not uncommon for Bad Influence Kid to get saved at the same time Answer Girl has a total crisis of faith and briefly embraces atheism.
14. The Not Funny Funny Kid – Not Funny Funny Kid has just discovered the existence of sarcasm and deploys it at every opportunity. Not Funny Funny Kid is convinced that he is the funniest person since Jerry Seinfeld and never misses the opportunity to not be funny. Youth leaders have to talk to him at least once per meeting about how it’s not funny to make jokes about girls weight.
This was a collective effort by myself, Barnabas, and Ted at The Blazing Center (original here.) Did we miss any?