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As a young, newly married couple, my husband and I worked with a small group of teens through our church. Barely older than the kids we worked with, I remember our struggle to maintain boundaries. I particularly remember one girl who came from an unchurched family. She made no secret of the crush she developed on my husband.
Looking back, I recognize the risk we naively assumed. The only instruction we had from church leadership was to befriend the teens, and provide spiritual instruction and some form of entertainment. No one thought about written policies and procedures to safeguard the ministry and those involved. We were on our own. That was more than thirty years ago.
Times have changed and today’s youth worker needs to be more aware than ever of the risks involved in ministry.