Does your Youth Ministry have clearly defined rules and guidelines?
We have been working on making official statements about certain things as we see fit, hoping to have a few more in place by fall. Below are two of ours that we are pushing out tonight.
Appropriateness is the key word. Granted, we all have different levels of appropriateness.
The line that may not be crossed is sitting on laps. Handholding and hugging are ok, but with discretion. If hand holding is a distraction to others, we will cut it out. If hugging is a distraction to anyone, we will cut it out.
We will allow these two things so that Adult couples who serve in leadership can be Models of healthy relationships for students, and I believe Healthy Relationships show physical affection on occasion.
Drugs and Alcohol
No drugs, alcohol, tobacco products, fireworks, weapons, pornographic material or anything of the sort will be allowed on ANY event or any youth service.
Again, use discretion. Love and grace has to be the driving force behind our actions. The more connected a student is to the ministry/church, the tougher we can be.
If a student comes to a Youth gathering under the influence or with anything on them, 2 same sex Adults (when possible) will take them aside and talk to them.
The first offense, just talk to them. The main thing here is that Students will not be allowed to participate or attend Youth Activities while under any influence of drugs or alcohol. But, we don’t want to come down hard on students, but rather show a little grace. Make sure they understand this is not OK, but you don’t love them any less or think any less of them. Though it may be hard to do because they are under an influence, talk to them during this time. Ask them why they are doing this, try and get to the root cause of their actions, that sort of thing, and let them know if it happens again, their parents will be called. 1st offense = Warning.
Second offense, same thing, but one of the adults will call parent immediately to come pick the student up.
Third offense, an Elder or Pastor will be called to come meet with Parent and student during youth service. Student asked to take a month off of Student Ministry.
What are your views on Guidelines in Youth Ministry? How do you approach dealing with issues like this while balancing grace and love? Do you think our guidelines should be tweaked in any way to further communicate the balance we are aiming for of Tough Love?