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I am learning what to do when a good friend makes a huge mistake. Today in our local paper it became public that a friend of mine has been charged with having an inappropriate relationship with several young ladies in the youth ministry he led. I will not say his name here but if you want to read about the charges you can see the article here on the Leaf Chronicle website. This was a young leader that I was investing in and mentoring. This is a young man who is very talented and was running a strong ministry here in our city. Did I see any of this coming? No, that is what is strange. I am as sad and shocked as anyone. I now have to work through what to do when a good friend makes some terrible choices. Some of you have been there, and this is how I am trying to respond…

  • Prayer…I am praying God will bring the truth to light. Where truth is exposed God can work and bring healing. I am praying that God will give this local church wisdom and praying for this young leader in trouble. I am praying this young man will be honest and open with his family and in the legal system.
  • Protect Students…beyond anything we are dealing with teens who have encountered a terrible situation. I am very proud of this local church for striving to protect families and students. I am thankful for our local law officials investigating the charges.
  • Encourage Students...our job as people who invest in the upcoming generation is to guide, encourage and protect. In the middle of this situation we cannot forget to slow down and help students deal with the reality of this issue. We have to be there for them. In the middle of a difficult situation students are looking for guidance. We need to step up.
  • Bring Clarity…there will be tons of rumors spread over the next few weeks. We have to strive to not fuel speculation and focus on the facts we know. There have been mistakes made but it does not give us the right to speculate. This is not time to pile on a leader who has made some horrible choices. Let’s allow this leader to defend himself in the legal system.
  • Be present…for teens, for leaders, for this young leader who has made a mistake, and for the teens who have been hurt. It is huge for us all to be ready to be present in the middle of this situation.

This is a hard situation for anyone of us who teach in the public school system or work in a church setting. Our hearts break when the students we strive to invest in encounter this kind of situation. Those of us who invest in teens have to remember to lead with passion and at the same time set proper boundaries. None of us are invincible.