Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Youth Ministry: The Facial Hair Edition

As I sit here at this youth ministry conference in Colorado Springs (not to be confused with a North Face convention), my people watching radar is on overdrive. Seriously, sensory overload right here.

I'm a big believer that you can tell a lot about a person just from watching them (I hold this view in common with stalkers). And one thing that has become clear to me at this conference is that you can tell what type of youth minister someone is based on their level of facial hair.

Perhaps this is the most valuable lesson I've learned so far. The keynotes have been great, but really my enlightenment on facial hair is the biggest nugget of gold I'm taking home. I hope my research on the subject matter helps you, if you're considering going into youth ministry or if you're trying to decide on which youth group to send your child.

The Goatee - this is the standard, go-to for a majority of youth ministers. It's safe, but just edgy and adult enough to distinguish the youth minister from the junior high kids. This looks great paired with t-shirts, a North Face if it's cold, jeans and flip flops or New Balance shoes. Plaid is an acceptable pairing as well.

Main goal of this youth minister: have fun, play video games with the kids and use clips of Will Ferrel movies as teaching tools in Wednesday night class.

The Creeper Stache - This facial hair communicates "hey, I like kids." On the surface you would think that would be an ideal message to communicate as a youth minister, but in this instance it has an adverse effect.

Note to parents: be wary of sending your children to a youth group where this facial hair is present.

The Soul Patch - Hey 2002! This is the youth minister who, in the early 2000's, found an outlet for an average guy to be trendy. And it stuck. Still. Though from an average town in the midwest, you'll hear this youth minister say phrases like "wicked cool", "tore up!" and "homeboy."

Main ministry goal: be relevant and connect to kids through his soul patch and hip terminology.

The Chin Curtain - this youth minister is either Mennonite or a goofball. Often wonders why the parents don't respect him as a professional equal.

Side note: loves Christian t-shirts and those Jesus sandals made of rope.

The Full Beard - Goatees are mere tinker toys in the world of facial hair for this youth minister. You're a real adult and if your actions and demeanor don't prove that, the massive amount of hair on your face should.

Main ministry objective: have some sort of solemn mountain man depth to your ministry and take your kids outdoors to teach them about life, Jesus and how to be like Bear Grylls.

The Clean Shaven Face - this youth minister probably has birthed an Apple family on his desk. Also probably owns at minimum four scarves and the thought of a baseball cap makes him cringe.

Connects to kids through: advanced knowledge of social media, current trends and graphic design. Also through a full head of fabulous hair and pants from the Buckle.

Stubble - no time to shave! He's got more important things to do, like minister to children or listen to Mumford and Sons.

Three words: Flannel, flannel, flannel.

The Robust Beard - loves David Crowder and takes the WWJD incredibly literally, down to the approximate length of beard.

Kids assume he knows more about the Bible because of this, so it works.

The Woman Face - Will probably spend a lot of time teaching your high school girls to "wait on their Boaz."

Slightly insecure about not having facial hair since it's such a status symbol among the other youth ministers.

Because of this she probably owns a MacBook because she think its the next best thing to a beard.


  1. Even though I'm not a youth minister, I've definitely been rocking the stubble and flannel look lately! How did you know?!

  2. lots of field work, Josh... lots of field work