Jump directly to the content

Already a subscriber?

Home > Issues > 2013 > Fall > Ministry in a Snapchat World
Article Preview. Log in or subscribe now.

If you work with teens, you have come across the following scenarios in recent years:

A dad discovers his teenage son has been accessing pornography on the smart phone they brought him last Christmas.

A teenage girl meets a boy online and begins "chatting," only to discover the "boy" on the other end of the messages was actually a 40-year-old married man.

A mom learns from another parent that her ninth grade daughter has been using the SnapChat app to send and receive indecent images with a boy in her class. The situation worsens when the boy saves several screen shots of the images and shares them with other students, destroying the girl's reputation.

These are nightmare scenarios. But as someone who works with teenagers, I am encountering them more and more. Maybe you have had to face similar situations. If not, it's only a matter of time.

The idea that we can insulate our kids from a highly sexualized culture is naïve. With apps like SnapChat and Bang with Friends out there—not to mention sexually suggestive images broadcast in primetime (think Miley Cyrus's MTV Video Music Awards "performance") a new era has dawned. But I believe we can help them navigate this new world, and help them discover God's best for life, relationships, and sexuality.

Through working with teenagers, I have discovered some practical approaches that can make all the difference. Here are a few ways every church leader can help teenagers navigate an overly sexualized culture and avoid the many pitfalls and pain it can bring.

Look in the Mirror

In recent years, our teens have seen fallen leaders, church scandals, and cover ups of abuse. It is imperative we not underestimate the impact our example can have on our kids. We, too, have been affected by the deluge of sexual temptation. Teens are perceptive. They may not know the full extent of the struggles we face, but they notice when our spiritual lives are compromised by sexual sin. It's not enough for leaders to teach on sexuality. Our teens need leaders who are actively resisting the onslaught of temptation in their own lives.

Paul implored Timothy to "set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity" so he could "save both yourself and your hearers" (1 Tim. 4:12, 16). Paul's challenge to this young leader is a call for us today. We need to model a life of love, faith, and purity as we bring hope and direction to a watching generation.

Our relationships, our marriages, and our walk need to inspire our teens to pursue something greater than what the rest of the world is offering them.

Partner with Parents

Some parents are oblivious to the kinds of challenges their teens are facing. Others are aware of the dangers, but have no idea of what to do. So out of fear, they suffocate their teens with restrictions, or live in obsessive worry. I have rarely met parents who just don't ...

log in

To view the rest of this article, you must be a subscriber to LeadershipJournal.net. Activate your online account for complete access.

Related Topics:MediaSexSexual AbuseTechnology
From Issue:Sexual Tensions, Fall 2013 | Posted: October 14, 2013

Also in this Issue: Fall 2013

The Thankful Exchange

The Thankful ExchangeSubscriber Access Only

A leader's most significant transaction.
Worship Leaders, We Are Not Rock Stars

Worship Leaders, We Are Not Rock StarsSubscriber Access Only

Leadership Journal Reviews
The Word on Proclaim

The Word on ProclaimSubscriber Access Only

Leadership Journal review

Subscribe to read more

Subscribe Today!

  • Monthly issues on web and iPad
  • Web exclusives and archives on Leadership Journal.net
  • Quarterly print issues

Print subscriber? Activate your online account for complete access.

Join the Conversation

Average User Rating:

Displaying 1–1 of 1 comments

James Ainsworth

December 12, 2013  9:21am

Excellent article! Thank you for your advice and direction. Sexual issues MUST be taught to our teenagers and parents need to get their heads out of the sand. It is a real problem and much more common than they think. For Christian kids, they need to hear a positive, biblical message on sexuality because the world is feeding them a sinful, crude message on sex. We need HELP!

Report Abuse
Use your Leadership Journal login to easily comment and rate this article.
Not part of the community? Subscribe, or on public pages, register for a free account.
Reader's Pick
Missional Living in a Fraternity

Missional Living in a Fraternity

What it takes to go with Jesus into unlikely parts of the world.
Sister Sites