As an Eagle Scout, I have always tried to follow the Boy Scout motto: Be Prepared. This mantra is applicable in all aspects of life, especially ministry. In youth ministry, anything can, and does, happen. Volunteers and small group leaders can call out sick at any given moment. At a group retreat, you may be asked to give a short devotion. Or if a local ministry needs a backup speaker and asked you to help out. Point is, you may be asked to speak at any time. Rather than rushing around frantically to find a sermon, you can use a “Lesson in a Can” – an prepared and ready to go generic sermon. My “Lessons in a Can” are ones I planned and prepped during college, and have presented a few times since. About 3 times a year, I look over the passages again to refresh my mind.
Having backup youth talks may seem like a luxury to an overworked youth worker, but it can be a valuable time saver and stress reliever if/when you need it. Trust me, the time to prepare for a impromptu sermon is before you need it.