This is a series of blog posts I’m going to write fairly often, hoping that they hit many of you right where you need it today. Maybe you’re reading this shortly after I wrote it or stumbled on it from Google months later … I hope it is at just the right time. Maybe you’re not in this situation now but need to forward this to someone who is. Maybe you need to print this and drop it in the bottom of your desk in the church office for the time when you will need it. Either way … READ THIS.

READ THIS: when you read about another moral failure in the church

Make sure you’re protected. Today. You are not above this.

Go to Google News and type in “youth worker” … you would hope that you would get a list of the amazing achievements others in our profession are doing making the news all over the country. You would think that Google would deliver you a nearly infinite number of pages filled with life-change, story after story with nothing but good news about the Good News. Instead, you’ll be hit like a ton of bricks with headlines that will infuriate you and mug shots that will make you cringe. Youth workers struggle with morality. The headlines we make today are often less about the good we are doing and about the lust we are consuming.

Before it gets too overwhelming and you look away, or maybe before your morbid curiosity drives you deeper into the vices and secret lives of fallen youth ministers, let me give you some words we all need to hear:

Look away. YOU aren’t that far removed from being in this same place. A condemning attitude may be easy in this situation, but it is also naive and arrogant. You probably don’t need to pause in reflection because you already know the weak areas in your own heart and life. You already know where you would give in if given a chance, where you have already fallen in your mind if not in body. You don’t want to end up another float in the parade of depravity, so it is time for you to shine some light on that darkness. Confess it. Get accountability. Tell someone where you’re at, refuse to suffer in secret.

Look around. Help other youth workers on your team be accountable in this area. If you sniff out something or have a red flag, gather the courage to confront it. Being wrong about someone or a situation is embarrassing and has a downside as well, but it will also send a strong message that you are watching and aren’t afraid to stand up for your students. The worst thing you can do is not be aware of this common trap just waiting to take down you or your team. Be on the lookout for those that surround you. Surround them in prayer, too.

Look up. Youth workers stray in their daily relationship with Christ long before they jump into bed with someone else. Make sure you, and the team you are leading, are connected to Christ in a way that transforms their sexual appetite. Go public with your desire for them to walk with Jesus and have frank conversations about temptations, lust and secrets.