Stuff Youth Ministers Like #3: Saying “Awesome”

Ok. Admit it. You’ve used it. You know you have, but perhaps you don’t know to what extent. Perhaps you don’t realize that it’s the one word you use to describe every youth ministry activity that you’ve planned. For some reason, the word “awesome” is always on the tip of your tongue.

At some point (probably in conjunction with “that one song”) it infiltrated the world of youth ministry and to this point, it has never left. “Rad” couldn’t survive. “Dope” just got too confusing. And you couldn’t describe everything as being “all that and a bag of chips.” (Especially if your budget only allows for a bag of chips). So, “awesome” has been the “Chosen Word” and it’s time to admit that we have a problem.

Let me be the first.

My name is Eric Porteous, and I use the word “awesome” a lot. As a youth minister it seemed as if every time I stood up to make an announcement at Mass or at youth group, I used the word “awesome.” Deep down in my heart I felt like there just wasn’t any other word that would satisfy. It got so bad that teens started keeping a count and reporting back to me how many times I said it in a given night; but it started innocently enough.

The first time sounded something like this:

“Hey teens. We have a retreat coming up in a month, and it’s gonna be awesome.”

And then it progressed:

“We’ve got an awesome retreat in a couple weeks, and we’re gonna have an awesome time. We hope you can make it.”

But, much like any addiction, it eventually got out of control:

“Tonight is going to be awesome! We’ve got an awesome guest speaker, and we’re going to have some awesome food. Plus, don’t forget about the awesome Mission Trip we have coming up this summer. It’s going to be . . . well . . . awesome.”

So, I admit it. I have a problem. I am an awesome-aholic, and honestly, I’m ok with that. I don’t need a 12-step program. I just want teens to know that any Youth Ministry event they come to will be . . . cooler than the other side of the pillow.

Question: What’s your favorite word to use when describing a Youth Ministry event?

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