Monday, November 28, 2011

Vulnerable Teens

We know that Jesus interacted and reached out to the vulnerable in his society and those who were on the fringes. We are challenged in youth ministry to do the same. However, sometimes we limit our understanding of the vulnerable and people on the margins to people in poverty and/or in other locations other than ours. But there are groups within out midst that we are in danger of ignoring. – Teens with autism often socially isolated

Drawing on research out of Washington University, Jessica Martin reminds us that adolescents with autism spectrum disorders are limited in their social interactions in inclusive settings. This raises for us the question of how can we ensure that our youth ministries are inclusive and that we do not unwittingly leave others out because we do not have them on our radar.

Teen Depression: Signs, Treatment, Help
WebMD discusses the possible signs of depression in teens. Here, Gina Shaw gives teens signs to look out for their own depression as well as intervention strategies. This is a good list for youth workers as well. It is easy to access and can help us as we work with youth who may be depressed to recognize the signs and be in a better position to help them. There are many such adolescents and they also are vulnerable.

Understand your Teen's Wild Decisions | GROW
If you have been around a teen for more than an hour you will start to realize teens make decisions in the world differently than adults.
And so Jennifer Wilmoth reminds us of the vulnerability of teenagers in their process of becoming. Because of the way their brain is developing, they are often driven more by emotion than by rationale thinking, though they have the capacity for great logical reasoning. What she say to parents is true for youth ministers - guide them in decision making.

"Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me" Matthew 18:5.
Loving God, Loving Neighbor
Developing Faithful Leaders for a Diverse Church and World Now and in the Future

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