Leave the youth group alone, and it will rot and decay. A wise youth leader constantly prunes the tree. Realistically, you are not going to reach every teen that crosses your path. Some are coming to you with such hurt and rebellion, and they’ve seen so much hypocrisy in their home, that it bars them from truth. The seed will fall on stony ground. If you are not careful, they will contaminate everyone in your group.

A scorner is a vocal rebel. Often, a scorner (laugher) will make fun of anything sacred. And that is why they attract a following – they are fun to be around. Many of the evil, yet popular, T.V. shows today revolve around ungodly humor and comedians. Just try to find a comedian on television who does not revert to crude, lewd, and dirty language and topics.

A scorner might speak out against what you say to the youth group. He or she might roll their eyes during announcement time as if to be “cute.” If you do not take charge, the “simple” will not beware. Proverbs 22:20 says, “Cast out the scorner, and contention shall go out; yea, strife and reproach shall cease.” Scorning is not acceptable behavior. Remember, one bad apple spoils the bunch. So, what can be done?

  • Schedule an appointment with them. Tell them you know they are hurting and that you would like to help.

  • If there is no response, speak to their parents (if their parents attend the church).

  • Do not honor them. Do not let them lead anything.

  • Warn them not to speak out loud during announcements, lessons, etc. If they do, publicly rebuke them.

  • If they are non-verbal in their rebellion, have them sit in the back so they are not as distracting.

  • Ask them to sit with their parents in the adult classes if scorning continues. It is a privilege to be in the teen group; it is not a right.

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

From time to time, teach from the book of Proverbs the different end results of the wise and the foolish lifestyles.

  • Everyone is born a fool. (Proverbs 22:15)

  • Fools have no desire to learn God’s principles. (Proverbs 17:16)

  • Fools never have anything of value to say. (Proverbs 24:7)

  • Fools think sin is amusing. (Proverbs 14:9)

  • To lose your temper is to act like a fool. (Proverbs 14:17)

  • Fools only do right when forced to do so. (Proverbs 26:3)

  • Fools see no need for counsel. (Proverbs 12:15)

  • Fools are masters of deceit. (Proverbs 14:8)

  • A fool is unwilling to consider the possibility that he might be wrong. (Proverbs 12:15)

  • A fool is given to griping and complaining. (Proverbs 12:16)


Dr. Mike Ray

Pastor of Hopewell Baptist Church.

Mike Ray has served as the pastor of Hopewell Baptist Church in Napa, California, for 30 years. Prior to that, he was a youth pastor for seven years in Louisiana. Mike and his wife Verna have five children.

He is also a frequent speaker at teen camps, teen conferences, Bible conferences, and Christian colleges. He also teaches one day a week at Golden State Baptist College in Santa Clara, California.