Adventures in Youth Ministry: The Talk

Today the kids struck up a conversation about sex.

It was really interesting. I think I handled it quite well, if I do say so myself, but it brought up a tangle of problems inherent in my position and in multicultural ministry.

On the one hand, I don’t want to shut them down – ever. I’ve put a huge amount of effort into earning their trust over the past two years so that they can bring things like this up with me, and it’s really flattering that they feel they can do so. On the other hand, I’m not sure what the mores are that are in effect with the Chinese community in our congregation. I’m pretty sure that I’m not the one who’s supposed to have this conversation, and I have a strong hunch that this is a situation where I could get into a bunch of trouble with some of the parents, particularly if I said too much. I’ve already decided that it isn’t something I’m going to bring up for those reasons, but when they ask, I’ve gotta say something.

I got the impression that it was sort of a probing situation – let’s see how Doug handles this topic, and let’s see if we can get some interesting information out of him while we do it.

I ended up answering their questions and responding to their comments, but not going beyond what they were talking about (difficult for me – I love giving people too much information about things). I was just honest about things and didn’t go past where they seemed to be based on the questions they were asking.

Two of the girls are 12 and one of them is 11, so I doubt this’ll be the last time. I’ve already talked to the 14yr old boy a bit on this topic, but he’s a lot more reticent (even after a year and a half of driving him to youth group and home again each week). He’s also, in my mind, farther along developmentally and really, if there’s stuff he doesn’t know that he wants to know from a trustworthy source, then he needs to know. This is an area of life where there shouldn’t be too much trial-and-error really.

2 thoughts on “Adventures in Youth Ministry: The Talk

  1. Doug, have a special session with all of the parents and ask them what they would like the church to teach about relationships to the kids. Our church did that years ago, and the parents helped to choose a youth curriculum that helped them and their kids.Doing it on your own can be a minefield. Be careful.

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  2. Doug,Having spent more yeasr than I want to think about in youth ministry, I would second the motion that you be very careful. It is easy to accidentally say something that will come back to bite you. Parental involvement is also always a good idea.Craig

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