A youth group is kind of like a game. A game is only fun if A) the rules are clear, B) everyone knows the rules, and C) everyone follows the rules.
If any one of these is ignored (particularly the last one), the game stops being fun. People stop playing.
It’s even worse if the referees aren’t following their own rules.
Now, I’m not saying you can’t change the rules, but you have to give prior notice and let everyone know the new rule – you can’t just make it up as you see fit. That’s an excellent way to make everyone stop playing.
I try not to complain without offering a new idea, so here goes. Let’s use the dress code – that’s the easiest to get confused, and the easiest to get called out on.
A) Clear rules. You can’t just say “you know what ‘immodest’ is.” That’s crap. The leaders’ idea of immodest, and our idea of immodest, are two completely different things.
Don’t say things like “no short shorts or miniskirts.” What is a miniskirt? What makes shorts “short shorts?” Make a clear, well-defined rule, like fingertip or knee-length. And does the rule change if tights or leggings are worn underneath?
I have no advice for low-cut tops – I have yet to see a good way of measuring that. That will have to be a judgement call.
B) POST THE RULES. On the door, on a bulletin board, whatever. But make sure everyone knows what is considered inappropriate. This doesn’t only go for dress code. If you want to make a rule, make sure everyone can see what it is.
C) Follow the rules. I am not directing this at the youth so much as the “referees”. The youth can be reprimanded or whatever, the leaders cannot. They are running pretty much wild. And I think everyone will agree, government running wild is a very bad idea. You can’t make up rules. I’ve seen it happen, and it makes Hulk-Hannah very angry!!
Sometimes you just have to put up with something you don’t like, if it’s not a rule.
Oh, and… make sure you know who’s in charge. Someone has to have the final word. Figure this out before the inevitable conflict, not during. If you try to figure out who decides the problem in the middle of the problem, it’ll always be the loudest or the most opinionated.
That is all.