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Is it ever ethical for a youth leader to hang out outside of church with a student?

Discussion in 'Children and Youth Ministry' started by NeedtoSurrender98, Sep 7, 2017.

  1. NeedtoSurrender98

    NeedtoSurrender98 New Member

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    I'm 18 years old, female, I've been a youth leader for a couple of months. I'm sorry if this is something I should already know by now, I just wanted to be clear on this issue so I don't make a mistake. One of the students in my youth group-almost 16 years old-keeps talking about how her love language is quality time and how she wants me and her to go fishing, etc. She doesn't drive yet so I'd have to be in a car with her alone, which is another thing that might not be appropriate either. She hangs out with the new youth pastor-22 years old-a lot, they're practically best friends. The student is a junior worship leader and an honorary member of the church staff, so I guess she doesn't consider herself a student? I've spent time with youth leaders outside of church when I was in youth, but I was a senior at the time, and plus there was more of an objective most of the time opposed to just leisure. I don't want to hurt her feelings but I also don't want to cross any boundaries, as well as make exceptions for certain kids. Is hanging out outside of church and driving in the same car ever okay, and if so under which circumstances?
     
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  2. HereIStand

    HereIStand Regular Member Supporter

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    Since you are both female, it should be fine. If it's awkward, perhaps ask another person to join the two of you.
     
  3. RDKirk

    RDKirk Alien, Pilgrim, and Sojourner Supporter

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    Not alone on a special outing, not even if you're the same sex.

    As a youth leader in my church, we are expected to "drop in" on events our kids participate in, like going to their games and such, seeing them and maybe having a word with them at such events.

    And we might organize small-group activities and get-togethers, like calling them for a pow-wow at a local fast food place.

    Or meeting one student for a bit off to one side at regular church meetings, like at the end of the hall right after service.

    And phone conversations.

    But having special one-on-one outings is not a great idea. Once upon a time a same-sex outing might have been okay, but not anymore, not even with young adults. And according to my daughter, that's just as true for women as it is for men.
     
  4. “Paisios”

    “Paisios” Sinner Supporter

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    I don't think it is necessarily inappropriate, but I would always have another person as well. Our church has a strict policy that leaders/clergy cannot be alone with any youth members (including driving, and regardless of gender), to protect the youth/leader/church against any possible wrongdoing/misunderstanding/misinterpretation. It may seem excessive, but given the number of cases of clergy sexual abuse and scandals (same or opposite sex), it seems prudent.
     
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  5. Go Braves

    Go Braves I miss Senator McCain

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    You're talking about folks who are in the same age range. I don't see a problem with an 18 year old and 16 year old hanging out, or them hanging out with a 22 year old. Just use common sense about it.
     
  6. “Paisios”

    “Paisios” Sinner Supporter

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    I respectfully disagree. She is legally an adult and in a leadership position over a group of minors. The legal implications are still the same, and it is important as youth leaders within the church to avoid even the appearance of impropriety.

    EDIT: I'm not saying she shouldn't do things socially with the youth members - just that she should never be in the position where she is alone with one of them.
     
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  7. Go Braves

    Go Braves I miss Senator McCain

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    Most folks with some common sense aren't going to see an appearance of impropriety when an 18-year-old and a 16-year-old are hanging out. Now, if she wanted to spend the night 1 on 1 with a 16-year-old boy, well sure, that would be a cause for concern, but just hanging out during normal social hours, of course that's not an issue. We're talking about 16 and 18, not 58 and 16.
     
  8. “Paisios”

    “Paisios” Sinner Supporter

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    Appearance may not be as important in this case, but an adult in a position of authority over a minor, even with only a slight difference in age could still cause legal issues. Courts don't always have common sense, nor do liability insurance companies (nor do most people I've found). My church would forbid it (and has it written into its canon law), regardless of age, not as a theological issue but as a way to protect our youth. Extreme, maybe. But perhaps wise in today's society.
     
  9. Serving Zion

    Serving Zion Seek First His Kingdom & Righteousness

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    Titus 1:15, Ephesians 5:3-7, Romans 12:2, 1 Corinthians 15:33 (worldy influences, eg: TV & Music), 2 Timothy 2:22.

    It makes me sad that you who have a pure heart and good intentions are being restricted by the suspicions and distrust of those who have been defiled. Rise above it and condemn them if they should so dare to accuse you!

    No weapon formed against you will prosper and you will condemn every tongue that rises against you in judgment. This is the heritage of Adonai’s servants— their vindication is from Me.” It is a declaration of Adonai.
    Isaiah 54:17


    Now flee from youthful desires; instead, pursue righteousness, faithfulness, love, and shalom, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they produce quarrels. The Lord’s slave must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, tolerant. Let him give guidance with humility to those who are in opposition—perhaps God may grant them a change of mind, leading to the knowledge of truth. Then they may regain their senses and escape the devil’s snare, in which they had been held captive by him to do his will.
    2 Timothy 2:22-26

    Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
    Romans 12:21


    --------

    “Thus says Adonai-Tzva’ot, “I am exceedingly zealous for Zion, I am burning with jealousy for her.”

    Thus says Adonai, “I will return to Zion and dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. Then Jerusalem will be called the City of Truth and the mountain of Adonai-Tzva’ot will be called the Holy Mountain.”

    Thus says Adonai-Tzva’ot, “Once again old men and old women will sit in the streets of Jerusalem, each with his staff in his hand because of his age. The streets of the city will be full of boys and girls playing in its streets.”

    “Thus says Adonai-Tzva’ot, ‘It may seem difficult in the eyes of the remnant of this people in those days, but will it also be difficult in My eyes?’—it is a declaration of Adonai-Tzva’ot.

    “Thus says Adonai-Tzva’ot, ‘Behold, I will save My people from the land of the east and from the land of the west. I will bring them back and they will live in the midst of Jerusalem. They will be My people and I will be their God, in truth and righteousness.’

    “Thus says Adonai-Tzva’ot, ‘Let your hands be strong—you who hear these words spoken by the prophets who were there the day the foundation of the House of Adonai-Tzva’ot was laid—so that the Temple may be rebuilt. Before those days there were no wages for man or animal, nor was there any shalom from adversity for those who came or went because I set every one against his neighbor. But now I will not treat the remnant of this people as in the former days”—it is a declaration of Adonai-Tzva’ot.
    Zechariah 8:1-11
     
  10. Hieronymus

    Hieronymus Well-Known Member

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    Why does this seem to be about sex?
     
  11. Serving Zion

    Serving Zion Seek First His Kingdom & Righteousness

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    What else could it be?
     
  12. Hieronymus

    Hieronymus Well-Known Member

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    Is there that much sexual tension in the air with these things then? :(
     
  13. Serving Zion

    Serving Zion Seek First His Kingdom & Righteousness

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    Ah, yes there is. It is only a recent development though, given severe deterioration of society's moral standards (since the 1980's).
     
  14. Go Braves

    Go Braves I miss Senator McCain

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    If your church would forbid the sort of innocent interaction the OP is talking about, then they are foolishly & pitifully legalistic. They're doing no honor to the Bible & certainly none for youth. We're talking about 2 girls, ages 18 and 16 spending friendly time with one another. Sounds like the OP is in a PEER leadership role. Part of that role IS interacting with her peers in the youth ministry. With the sort of logic you're using the 16-year-old who is a Jr worship leader & honorary member of the church staff would be doing something wrong if she went fishing with a sophomore. It's just downright silly. I feel sorry for the OP that she even needs to ask this, but what you're writing makes me understand why the poor girl is confused.

    It's not uncommon for 18 and 16 year olds to be in the same grade. It's extremely common for both to be in HS at the same time. The only real difference between 18 and 16 is the legal status, and so that only has a bearing over things that have anything to do with legal matters. If the 18 year old wanted to buy cigarettes for the 16 year old, that would be wrong. To be social together is totally healthy, ethical & fine.
     
  15. Hieronymus

    Hieronymus Well-Known Member

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    I think it started off in the 60s, but nowadays all young people have a HD screen in their hands and instant access to porn.
    But much of modern youth and youngsters culture is sexually charged, isn't it?
    But shouldn't this be clearly different in Christian circles?
    Or is it just ignored, making it possibly even more exciting?

    Sigh... I don't want to live on this planet anymore... :(
     
  16. RDKirk

    RDKirk Alien, Pilgrim, and Sojourner Supporter

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    I'd point out that the OP has been prompted by an inner voice to ask for advice on this issue, and it would not be good advice to tell a Christian to ignore such an inner prompting.
     
  17. “Paisios”

    “Paisios” Sinner Supporter

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    Forgive me. I was not looking for an argument. My concern would be if complications arose from a perceived or accused sexual contact between the two (especially if, in fact, not true), in which case the fact that one is an adult in a leadership position and the other a minor in the youth group is legally relevant. I understand and, to a point, agree with you, and regret if I caused confusion for the OP. I agree that at age, they are often peers and friends, but that is a different relationship than leader and youth group member. Perhaps I misunderstood the circumstances, but I have seen assistant youth leaders of similar age prey on youth group members to devastating effect. I gave what seemed to me to be prudent advice for the protection of both, but, as I usually preface my remarks, what do I know?
     
  18. “Paisios”

    “Paisios” Sinner Supporter

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    Because of the unfortunate number of case of clergy abuse and sexual scandals involving clergy in many denominations, especially those involving youth and children.
     
  19. Serving Zion

    Serving Zion Seek First His Kingdom & Righteousness

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    Indeed it is, and the knowledge of Godly love is almost completely gone, having been replaced by spirits that gain control of our thought processes through the propaganda mechanisms of the worldly (aka: not-of-God) media. This is evidenced by churches with such attitudes as post #8 "My church would forbid it" (consider 1 John 4:18), and is an example of the prevalent antichrist spirit among churches where visitors are forcefully prevented from carrying out the direct instructions of Yahweh unless they yield to the established hierarchy (Ezekiel 8:6), and even banning indiscriminately the sharing of material that has not been produced by it's own administration. These are possessive, controlling, subversive spirits that oppose God's work (James 1:17) and they slander His good character by operating in fear and sin rather than love and holy spirit (goodness, kindness, etc). See 2 Peter 2:1-3, for many will say "I did marvellous deeds in your name!" and yet He will say "depart from me you worker of iniquity".
    It is supposed to be (Romans 12:2, Revelation 18:4).. but: most Christians these days do not enter covenant according to The Gospel of Jesus Christ but the antichrist, whose entire purpose is to steal, kill and destroy. It achieves this by turning the gospel into a far-off salvation that we only receive after our body has expired (that is the destruction: Isaiah 28:15, Ecclesiastes 9:10), then pacifying us with false assurance that our sins don't matter as long as we believe with our heart and confess that Jesus is (nb: "will one day be") Lord; and then it wants us to pay our tax to the machine and sit quietly each Sunday while it makes us feel good for doing what we are told and staying convinced of a distant hope.

    Christianity by The Holy Spirit is altogether different though, it is about acknowledging that Jesus has thrown the devil from heaven, and for us to weild His heavenly power through faith, to take up our cross and pursue Him to rid the devil from earth (Luke 12:49, Mark 3:27, Revelation 17:13-14).
    Dear Heavenly Father, I just ask that you will pick our brother up and carry him to a place where you can revitalise his enthusiasm. I would like you to open his eyes to perceive the very exciting times we are living in, and to know that you are working all things together for the good of those who love you. Amen.

    Please take a look at this booklet that I produced, maybe you will be inspired by it!

    www.adonai-reigns.life/the-gospel
     
  20. Go Braves

    Go Braves I miss Senator McCain

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    There's nothing to forgive you for, but I just could not disagree more with your posts here & I certainly hope the OP doesn't follow your advice. Now, for one thing, let's just stop and think about how the 16 year old girl who reached out for friendship with the 18 year old girl would feel if that was denied on account of the tiny age difference & "authority" between them. Sounds like they're both in roles at their church. All she's wanted was friendship, doing the most innocent of things like fishing. It's just not right to discourage that. That's not being kind. It's being absurdly legalistic. Honestly it has the risk of making that 18 year old girl come off as haughty or full of herself, which would be really sad & unfortunate. That's just how others in the youth ministry could very well see it. We're talking about 2 teens of the same gender hanging out socially together. Now if the OP was 48 then sure, that would be inappropriate, but 18 and 16 makes them peers. The only sense in bringing the difference in 1 being legal & the other not is if they were doing anything at all where that was relevant, and they're not. We're not talking about this girl having sex with the other girl, we're talking about them going fishing, building up a good friendship. Hopefully the 2 would strengthen 1 another in their spiritual walk. It ought to be encouraged.

    Really? Between 18 & 16 year olds of the same gender doing things like going fishing together?? If what you're saying is the truth, that's extremely bizarre & should not be considered normative or a reason to base advice off in normal circumstances.
     
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