(He’s back. He’s unstoppable. Ladies and Gentlemen, Curtis “The lightning bug” Honeycutt and a fantastic new guest post.)
Curtis here, winner of the historic Bulletin Bored contest and purveyor of fine threads like awesome Christmas Sweaters. You haven’t heard from me for a while because I’ve been embedded on a top secret fact-finding mission on behalf of SCL: I’ve been studying youth ministers. What sets them apart from normal people? Why do they have so much energy? Why so many wristbands? These are the questions that fueled my research and kept me awake during all-night dodgeball tournaments. I’m happy to report my findings to you today, in what I call “The Youth Minister’s Unwritten Uniform” -or- “Is Your Youth Minister a Communist?”.
The youth minister has taken on a style all his own. Realizing he’s the slightly-less-hip version of the metrosexual worship leader, here’s how to pick a youmin from a lineup:
The Overstimulating Shirt
Fact: eighth graders have the attention span of a goldfish in a bowl of coffeee (more on that later). In case the Wednesday night message doesn’t keep the students’ rapt with attention, his shirt will. You know the shirts I’m talking about–they contain more calligraphy than the Constitution. I think I saw a youth minister the other day with Hammurabi’s Code embellished onto it. If you give the kids 3D glasses they may even find clues to reclaim a legendary book of Presidential secrets hidden inside Teddy Roosevelt’s nostril at Mount Rushmore.
Some trends die hard. And ten years too late. Youth ministers make up for the fact that cargo pants have lost their panache by filling the pockets with something ironic like tater tots. This allows them to connect with students by reenacting scenes from Napoleon Dynamite. “Napoleon! Give me some of your tots!” Classic.
Eleventy Hundred Wristbands
It’s easy to quickly come down from a mountaintop experience like summer camp or surviving a retreat at a haunted warehouse and forget how God showed up in amazing ways. The remedy is simple: never cut off your event-specific wristbands. The key to keeping your fragile wristband in mint condition is this: never shower.
Marry Way Out of Your League
I realize this doesn’t have anything to do with apparel, but it’s an unmistakable fact: youth ministers somehow trick women who are drop-dead gorgeous and possess the wisdom of a sage into marrying them. I don’t know how they pull off this epic feat, but it’s actually a prerequisite to becoming a youth minister.
Youth ministers have been accessorizing their faces for decades, if not dozens of years. The goatee has been popular, although the stylish soul patch has taken over the number one spot on the charts. The soul patch had better watch its back; it has some stiff upper-lip-competition from the mustache…no one takes it seriously, but everyone wants one.
Energy Drink Sponsorship
Do you ever watch skateboarders guzzle a liter of energy drink after they shred a halfpipe? Youth ministers make Shaun White look like a baby when it comes to consuming caffeine. I recently saw a youth minister with an energy drink CamelPak. Game on.
Right now the Rob Bell, plastic-framed glasses are all the rage. I myself have bought into the craze, but I’m predicting a new frame fad: Horace Grant goggles. Grant became famous as the goggle-clad power forward who won championships with MJ and the Chicago Bulls in the ’90s. He also looks like a superhero. Teenagers think superheroes are awesome. Ipso facto: Why shouldn’t your youth minister look like an awesome superhero? You, too can be the Godfather of Goggles, just like Horace Grant.
This is a surefire way to tell your youth minister apart from the rest of your church’s pastoral staff. While your pastor probably/definitely throws the Italian leather man-bag over his shoulder, the youth minister will have none of that pretentiousness. No; the youth minister proudly utilizes the backpack to carry his Macbook Pro to and fro. He is, however, still holding on to the one strap trend that makes him the coolest guy at Bayside.
To some it screams “Down with capitalism.” To me, it suggests “It was either this or a train conductor hat; I’m on my way to bald.” Totally understandable. Youth ministers want to be able to relate to their students, who, for the most part, have hair. Do what you got to do, man. Just be careful and don’t go too far. Only Justin Timberlake and Indiana Jones can pull off the fedora like champs. On you, it’s probably not a good idea.
At this point, you may start getting confused. Cargo pants? Check. Mustache? Rockin’ it like nobody’s business. Castro hat? Affirmative. Is this guy a youth minister or a solder of the revolution? Here’s a tiebreaker that will help clear things up for you:
Sandals with Socks
Is your youth minister a communist? Only one way to find out: from the shin up, he appears to be a card-carrying Marxist, but have you ever seen Castro sporting a pair of these?
I think the reasoning behind sandals with socks is that Jesus wore sandals; I want to be more like Jesus; therefore, I will wear sandals 24/7, even during winter, and especially in camp showers. Side effects include a wicked case of Ninja Turtle toe, tube sock-induced foot odor, and an increased likelihood of using the phrase “My dogs are barking.”
I hope your fears have been relieved about your youth minister’s questionable political associations based on his clothing decisions. The typical youth minister uniform says two important things about him: he’s countercultural (see mustache) and he wants to relate with the students. These are admirable traits to have in a person who’s shaping awkward, lanky teens into men and women of character. Youth ministers are a strange bunch, and I’ve decided sometimes it’s better to not ask questions, but instead let them do their thing…even if that thing includes throwing seventh graders upside down onto a velcro wall with a mouthful of pop rocks and Coke.
For more from Curtis, check out his site.