Monday, July 23, 2012

What we can learn from Penn State

I'm sitting here listening to the sanctions that came forward from the Penn State scandal.  If you haven't heard yet, check it out here.

If you are unfamiliar with the issues going on with Penn State, I would recommend you do a little research, but for a quick summary, it came to light that one of Penn State's coaches was mistreating younger individuals.  And it went unnoticed since 1998. To put it lightly.

I think this issue brings to light a very real truth in our world and how we need to be extremely careful in student ministry and interactions with minors.

The bottom line in what took place was an egregious crime, and a shame.

The reason this is such a big deal is that as student ministry pastors and leaders we need to be aware of what kind of interactions are going on between adults and students.  Regardless of what your opinion on the issue is, as a student ministry director/pastor you hope, and quite honestly need to be much more than hopeful, that you are never put in the position that Joe Paterno was put in.

As the student ministry leader/pastor you are put in charge.  You must answer for all the actions that are going on in your ministry.  You are the "Joe Pa" of your student ministry.

I know this may still be a sore subject, but "Joe Pa" was the leader of this organization, and we as pastors and leaders are the shepherd of our student ministry and we must answer for all the actions that go on inside our ministry.

What can we learn from this?

I think what we can learn is to be extraordinarily careful in volunteer and student interactions.

Know as much as you can about what is going on in your student ministry.

Do background checks on your leaders.

Don't just take any warm body who is willing to help, be able to say no to people if you have to.

Above all, be the leader, and make sure that you are standing up for what is right, no matter what the cost.

What do you think about the Penn State punishment, do you think it's too harsh? What are some other things we can learn as student ministry pastors in this?

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