Top 2 pause-worthy moments in ministering to teens

throughout my time engaging the youth in ministry whether through dance practices, chaperoning activities or actively teaching a lesson, there’s always something that’ll surprise me. Seemingly random questions and the resulting chaos from their wide-eyed, jaw-dropped peers take up more time than required. So, in honor of those moments, here’s a quick rundown of the top 2 most random/pause-worthy questions I’ve been asked when teaching kids.

“I’ve touched myself down there, Is that okay or is it bad?”

Yep, a masturbation question. While this is not the first time I’ve heard this question, the shock was in the delivery if anything. My church, at the time, was having their annual youth conference which was supposed to include a sex education talk with the older kids. The teacher pulled a no-show and as soon as I got there, I was handed all the pamphlets and materials one could find about various STD’s and pregnancy stages diagrams.

In short, I was asked on the spot and went ahead and taught the 16-20 people congregation of blushed, brown faces and eye contact avoidance. At the end I encouraged them to ask questions and got this one. Amongst the giggles and covered mouths I spoke up as her advocate. After calming the crowd down, I told them her question was a great one and needed an answer since most of us, if not all, have done it, thought about it or let someone else do it for us. (Enter side eye here) I’ve already gone into detail about masturbation here: the-misconceptions-of-being-single-sexless-pt-2. I may do so again in the future. The silence in the room confessed everyone’s anticipation of an answer for a topic that “had no specific scripture.”

In the end the girl’s question and quietly everyone else’s was answered by examining God’s design for sex and referring to our body’s as temples. Providing context and structure to say yes masturbation is not in God’s plan and shouldn’t be in ours all the while explaining the natural curiosities and gratifications.

“I pressure my girlfriend to have sex with me.”

While a comment and not a question, I can honestly say, I wasn’t expecting this. Not only were we not on the topic, but nothing was said that could’ve given a clue to this statement slapping me in the forehead like it did. At this point bible study I had a newcomer in the midst, who knew my usual group of boys, around 15-17. After the lesson, the boys were trying to provide shock value by telling the worst news about the other for a disapproving reaction. Which is how this statement came flying out.

Things got serious quick. I asked if that was true and the boy admitted it was. I asked why and he admitted that he tells her that she doesn’t love him if she doesn’t have sex with him. I told him, that sex doesn’t equal love, so if he loves her, genuinely, he wouldn’t do that to her. Obviously she doesn’t want to if she’s responding to peer pressure. I told him how she wasn’t responding to having a love for him, but to for acceptance and guilt he was placing on her.

The same way he wasn’t making a request out of love, but lust and manipulation for his satisfaction solely and that was selfish and considered rape. Hesitancy, coaxing, manipulating anyone into sexual activity when they don’t want to and clearly he was aware of that, that is a crime. We spoke about it more, going over 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, “love is patient, love is kind.”

In the end, with teaching and reaching the youth, in both of these situations, transparency is key. Allowing the kids to understand their safety in an environment helps them to be open with their thoughts. If you have any questions on how to approach these questions or others, with your kids or youth group, feel free to email me at outgrowit@gmail.com.

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