Here we have the final post of a four part purity series. Over the past few weeks we have discussed ways to help teens out with purity. The last three posts have offered us some practical ideas on working with students in this touchy area. I’d like to end the series by asking youth leaders and parents to do something very hard.
HOLD THEM ACCOUNTABLE
Lately I’ve been thinking about the dynamic of accountability in between Christians. I think the church is really lacking in this area. I’m not talking about the church in the sense of the church building. I’m talking about the body of Christ here. I’ve grown a little frustrated with this because I’m learning that I have difficulty holding people accountable also.
I don’t think that we maliciously decide to throw the teens in our lives to the dogs. It seems that our lives just get in the way of us being available for them. Life is busy. If you’re in ministry, you most likely have no clue what a “9 to 5” day looks like. Sometimes accountability is something we try to take care of quickly and artificially. Here are some things God has been showing me in this area.
1) Show Them They Matter
None of us want to confide in a total stranger. There is something about seeking advice on purity issues with a person you barely know that’s rather awkward. We might feel we know the young people in our ministries really well because we preach at them on a regular basis in a finely scheduled time frame. But how much are we showing them that we want to just be with them? We need to see them outside of church. We need to call them just for the sake of calling. We need to go to their basketball games and track meets. As they get more comfortable with us, they feel more open to share with us.
2) Let Them Know They Can Tell the Truth
Every teen’s worst fear is getting found out and disappointing people that care about them. These guys and girls look up to us … big time. This is going to happen whether we like it or not. They need to know that we are not perfect people to be put on a pedestal. Tell them that you can be a safe sounding board. Let them know that your goal is not to tell their parents every time they mess up. If you do not make it abundantly clear that you are asking so you can help, they will find it really difficult to tell the truth. Make sure to use caution though. There will be times where you need to use your discretion. If their behavior is becoming destructive, a parent or guardian will need to know.
3) Be Consistent
Finally we need to practice accountability on a regular basis. The time put in and the quality of that time will play a large role in the success of the relationship. When teens are struggling with purity, we may have awesome moments where they repent in an instant. More often than not though, it is a slow painful process. We need to work at things regularly while always remembering to have a steady balance between loving confrontation and practicing step #1 by simply being there for them. Layer by layer, day by day, tiny victory by tiny victory God will use your relationship as a tool for His glory in the lives of these precious students.
NEVER GIVE UP!