Cast Out the Scorner

How to Deal with a Scorner in the Youth Group

A youth group that is left to itself will rot and decay. A wise youth leader constantly prunes the tree so to speak. Realistically, you are not going to reach every student that comes your way. Some come to you with hurts and rebellion, and see so much hypocrisy in the home that it shields them from truth. They could be called stony ground. While you want to reach the hard-hearted, if you’re not careful, they will contaminate everyone in your group.

A scorner is a vocal rebel—a student who speaks out against what you say in the youth group. He or she may roll their eyes during an announcement time to be “cute.” If you don’t take charge the “simple” will not beware (Proverbs 19:25). It is not acceptable behavior. One bad apple ruins the bunch. What can be done?

  1. Have an appointment with them. Tell them you know they are hurting and you would like to help.
  2. If there is no response, speak to their parents if they attend church.
  3. Do not honor them. Do not let them lead anything.
  4. Warn them not to speak out loud during announcements, lessons, etc. If they do, publicly rebuke them.
  5. If they rebel non-verbally, make them sit in the back so they are not as distracting.
  6. Tell them to sit with their parents in the adult class if they insist on being a scorner.

This type of discipline teaches the other teens that it is a privilege to be in the youth group, and that the privilege can be forfeited.

From time to time, teach the difference between the wise and fools and contrast the consequences of their actions. These are just a few principles found in Proverbs.

  • Everyone is born a fool (22:15).
  • Fools have no desire to learn God’s principles (17:16).
  • Fools do not have anything of value to say (24:7).
  • Fools think sin is amusing (14:9).
  • To lose your temper is to act like a fool (14:17).
  • A fool must be forced to do right (26:3).
  • Fools see no need for counsel (12:15).
  • Fools are masters at deceit (14:8).
  • A fool is always unwilling to consider the possibility that he might be wrong (12:15).
  • A fool is given to griping and complaining (12:16).

from Basic Training for Sunday School Teachers by Mike Ray

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