Not all of your ministry to girls is directly to girls- a portion is to the young guys in your ministry about how they can relate and treat girls.
I recently overheard a man talking to his wife (or girlfriend) and it was painful for me to just sit and listen to it. I wanted to get up from my seat and do something to make him stop treating another human being that way. I didn’t…mostly because it was the wrong time and the wrong place. While I sat there and listened to him I wondered if he was ever in a youth ministry?Did he ever get the chance to see a godly man interact with the opposite sex?
Which leads me to think about the thousands of teenage boys currently in youth ministries…It’s safe to assume that some of them come from homes that may range from mildly to extremely abusive. What they seen in our ministries is so important. Ask yourself what are the guys in my ministry learning about interacting with the girls in their lives?
It doesn’t need to be a set message or program…you can teach guys good and apropriate skills but passing them along. Here are 3 skills you can pass along:
Pass on how to talk TO girls
Seems basic but how do you interact with the girls in your ministry? Do you affirm them in private and public? Do you show them kindness and care? Do you see them? Do you speak to them and listen when they respond. You get to model how to be a good friend to both those of the same sex and those of the opposite.
Pass on how to talk ABOUT girls
Youth workers love to talk about their brides! I love it when they publically affirm their wives especially when they draw attention to more than just their wives “hotness.” Girls notice the things you say about your spouse…but so do the guys. Are you teaching them the qualities and the character that are important in a wife/girlfriend or does the list stop at being hot?
Also, be careful when you use girls as the punchline of your jokes. Obviously, it’s fine to make fun of a silly thing that girls do…as long as you make fun of the silly things that guys do too. Without meaning to we can pass on an attitude about girls that is inferior or condesending.
Pass on how to partner in ministry with girls
In my years of ministry I have seen some great ministry partnerships between men and women. Some are married couples and prepare yourself…some are not. Do you work well with the adult ladies in your ministry? Have you considered hiring a female staff member? (for admin and MORE.) During my time at Saddleback I had the priviliege of working with some amazing guys and gals…working together allowing our unique gifts and gender specific traits to encourage and minister together in very powerful ways. I think if you look closely throughout scritpture you can find some great examples of partnerships between men and women.
You can make a huge difference in the lives of guys and girls by just being aware and willing to pass along good relational and ministry skills.
How else can we encourage healthy interactions between guys and girls?