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August 04, 2020, 03:28:19 pm *
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Author Topic: Youth Leaders and Youth: It's Inappropriate, right?  (Read 666 times)
Wingless_Butterfly
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« on: August 01, 2019, 03:27:48 pm »

Disclaimer: I'm open to the idea that there can be healthy relationships in the right context. I just don't know that GCC is that kind of context.

I started working for a youth evangelism organization and during the onboarding process, my eyes were very opened to the lack of vigilance in my GCC church.

All youth workers - even volunteers! -  with this organization are required to do a federal background check, plus to write in several references, both professional and personal.
ANY kind of romantic relationship between youth (high school) and youth leaders (we don't care if you're nineteen. no.) is strictly prohibited and cause for dismissal/firing. This includes non-physical relationships. Contrast that to the church I went to, where I was able to volunteer with elementary schoolers as a non-believer who didn't have any accountability with the church at all. I was in high school, but still.

I just wonder if, especially given the ridiculous power disparity between leaders/laymen and men/women in GCC, it isn't incredibly inappropriate that anyone should meet and marry in this way?
There are a LOT of men in the church I used to go to that are married to women at least five years younger than them. Most recently, two youth leaders married girls that they'd been leading in ministry since they were young teenagers. Couldn't this be like... grooming?
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Huldah
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« Reply #1 on: August 02, 2019, 11:50:57 am »

It certainly raises important questions.

It's not that these marriages are necessarily wrong, but that the whole church culture you described seems off, which leads to a lot of opportunities for boundaries to be ignored and young women (also young men) to be exploited. This is especially true if a lot of these girls were homeschooled and/or part of the courtship culture, where they had no opportunity to date or to be exposed to healthy interactions with boys their own age.

I personally think all churches would be wise to require at least a police background check of all employees and volunteers who work with children and teens. My own church doesn't do that, because we're quite small and have very few young families with children, and besides, a background check only goes so far. I still wish it would become standard policy in American churches.
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