It is the end of August and so today will conclude our tough talks theme. I want to apologize for the short blogs this summer, and for missing a week a while back. It being summer, and the writers being youth ministers who are busy in the summer, has made some weeks harder to fill than others. Especially since I did not recruit early enough. Moving forward I hope to have a better recruitment strategy. Thank you for checking back and reading these wonderful responses.
Coming in January we will begin offering some other great content. We will have weekly Bible studies, monthly curriculum for larger events (Disciple Now, Fall Retreats, etc.), as well as some other resources for youth ministers. I am really getting excited about this next step and can’t wait to roll it out!
Without further delay, here are some beautiful words on……
“Tough Talks: What advice do you have for an expectant teenager parent?”
Chris Cherry is an ordained minister who received his Masters of Divinity from McAfee School of Theology. He enjoys foosball and skittles, but doesn’t particularly care for static electricity. He is currently serving as Minister to Students at St Andrews Baptist Church in Columbia, SC.
This question is a good one, but a tricky one at the same time. There are two directions here—a pregnant teenager and a future teenage father. In some ways, each of those situations are handled differently, but the bulk of the response is the same. The question asks for “advice,” but to be completely honest, I have no “advice” for a pregnant teenager, and I only have limited authority in speaking to a male youth in this circumstance. I do, however, have a major role in this situation as a minister in the life of that youth. Here is how I see that role playing out:
1. Regardless, of the outcome, I will be there. I am not the parent. I am not the decision maker. I will sit, listen, learn, and support. The reality of the situation is that the youth has an enormous decision to make. Of course, I have personal opinions, however those thoughts do not belong anywhere near this conversation. My personal opinions matter a grand total of zero percent in this situation. I was once asked in an interview what I would do if a youth wanted to get an abortion. My answer is simple. Sometimes ministry is laughter and new babies, and sometimes ministry is consistent presence and tears.
2. I don’t get to label the situation. I will never, ever, ever use the word “mistake” in my conversations with the youth, parents, or the youth group. Sometimes people make mistakes, yes, but it does not help the situation for me to prescribe that label. Instead, I will remain positive and keep the focus on the future.
3. The present and the future are about love and acceptance. My main role in the entire situation is to make sure that youth knows she or he is still loved. With the focus on the future, we will figure out how to make each and every upcoming situation positive. Church will remain a community of acceptance, love, and support.
4. My only piece of actual “advice” is for an expectant teenage father. Clearly, the male in the situation has a different kind of decision to make. While I recognize it’s not up to me, if asked, I would encourage the father to be involved and to love the child. The future won’t be easy, but it can still be full of great joy and great love.