I'm curious as to how you, as a youth minister, would respond if one of your students confided in you that they smoked pot for the first time. This student is fairly active - not as committed as one would like, but at the same time they are there for most activities and Bible studies. The student is facing college and is obviously recognizes that what they did was wrong and is looking for some sort of guidance.
How would you react? What would you tell the student? What is your objective and rationale in its achievement?
I'll post what happened Wednesday afternoon. There is no one right answer but I want to see if there is any consensus or not.
//This is one way to keep this thing going while I'm crazy-busy - have you all do the work while I finish tests!
Update - First of all, thank you Dusty and Mac for your thoughts. I think both situations would work well if done with an obvious dose of love and intention.
What happened: The youth minister's first response was "well, either you tell your parents or I will - which will it be?". The result is that this particular person has not been in church since.
At what point is a youth minister a friend, and at what point are they a parent? Do they need to be a parent? Do parents look for them to act like one because they do not have the time or desire to do so themselves and expect them to be a miracle worker?
Whichever method of handling the situation is chosen, I believe the common foundation is love for the student and respect for them as young adults. Loving and respecting them means that you can counsel to do the right thing, yet recognize that they must make that choice on their own.
Part of the reason I asked this was because I have been struggling with the divisiveness and lack of love within the Christian tradition. The essence of our faith is Christ, and the essence of Christ is love. If we cannot love our own, how can we be an effective representative of Christ to those who do not know that love?
Thanks again for the answers and thoughts. Feel free to blast away at my mini-sermon... :)