Things I’ve Never Said as a Youth Pastor

I didn’t do this in the 1980s when we (all of the youth pastors) didn’t know what we were doing. I didn’t do this in the 1990s when we thought we knew everything. I haven’t done this in the 2000s nor the 2010s or in the 2020s as I’m still a youth pastor.

  • I’ve never read I Kissed Dating Goodbye so I never taught anything out of that book.
  • I’ve never taught how to A-frame hug. You know this type of hug. The one you hug and lean forward but don’t allow any body parts to touch.
  • I’ve never taught to side hug either.
  • I’ve never said “guard your heart.” Somehow I didn’t even hear that overused phrase until about 10 years ago. I missed that wrong and silly message completely.
  • I’ve never said to a couple dating in youth group, “When’s your wedding date?” Because it’s stupid. They are going to break up soon. And I never wanted to idolize marriage.
  • I never threw a purity ball.
  • I never had a “modesty sweatshirt” available for anyone. Never heard of that mess of an idea ‘til recently.
  • I’ve never shamed a girl for having her clavicle showing. I do remember me being shamed as a speaker at a youth Bible camp when I was in my 30s for wearing shorts that extended beyond my fingertips.
  • I’ve never said “modest is hottest.”
  • I’ve never asked my husband to wear a t-shirt that says how hot I am as a wife. I don’t need to be sexualized like that just because I’m married now.
  • I’ve never said this catchy phrase, “Waiting for my “Boaz” and refusing to date “bozos.”
  • I’ve never passed around a heart-shaped paper representing your heart and asked everyone to rip a piece off. Nor did I squeeze toothpaste out of a tube and show how it couldn’t be put back in again.
  • I’ve never asked anyone to date Jesus or have Jesus as your boyfriend. That is so not the same thing as a real boyfriend.
  • I’ve never said you are “God’s princess” either. I want my girls to be more than princesses.
  • I’ve never said “You are in a single season.” You are single now so live your life to the full. Not as a temporary season to pass through. I lived my life this way before I got married (15 years single in full-time ministry) and I’ve encouraged the singles at my church and all of my graduated teens to live this way.
  • I pray that I’ve never shamed anyone when I talked about love from the pulpit (or youth stage) or when I talked one-to-one with the many many teens who have asked me about this. My intention has never been to shame. I hope I’ve been consistent about that. But in the moment I know I am capable of saying something that could easily be understood as shame. I know I’m capable of that and I apologize.

I’m sorry something was said to you by a good-intentioned youth pastor that has messed up your thinking now. May you find hope, inspiration, and your worth here at Brave Dating. I’ve been at this for a long time and find such joy when I see my beloveds find their good match. I’m sharing my guts here through Brave Dating so you can too.

(photo credit: https://desenho.ynccf.net/mom-teaches-daughter-lesson-using-toothpaste)

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