Book Review – 4 Views on Pastoring LGBTQ Teenagers


We have a calling to reach out to all people and yet there are some who feel isolated, condemned and unwelcome in our churches. The LGBTQ teens have often been pushed aside and the stories of mental health issues, suicide, bullying etc. are never ending. As Church, we need to do something…our arguments are alienating people from the love of Christ and the fellowship of faith.

4 Views on Pastoring LGBTQ Teenagers is a book published by the Youth Cartel that wants youth workers/ministers/pastors etc. to rethink how we engage with youngsters on the margins who are often isolated and avoided by church. Whatever your theological positioning, the Church does not have a good track record and something has to change, or we will continue to abdicate our responsibility leaving vulnerable young people further condemned and judged.

This book steps into a space to try and help those engaged in Christian youth ministry think through how they may be better equipped to honour those who find themselves in a place where a welcome is less than welcoming.  The book takes a conversational style which includes testimony and practice from one practitioner and has a response from a second contributor. This is done remarkably well although it does not provide all the answers, nor attempt to provide a theological treatise, but rather seeks to begin conversations. It is not possible to join the conversation and not change practice. It is not possible to avoid being humbled by our own failings whilst engaging with our LGBTQ community – this has to be good news! Reading this book and joining the conversation has changed my own thinking and is nudging me towards being a better ambassador of Christ.

The main contributors do a good job of seeking to share their perspective without forcing  a personal agenda although that struggle comes through on occasion. Each viewpoint gives insight to the difficulties faced when pastoring LGBTQ youth and highlights the personal struggles that a pastor goes through when seeking to support the very people they are called to serve, especially when a church congregation holds a traditional conservative approach to sexuality.

I would recommend the book because it opens up conversation – there were moments when I wanted to thank the contributor and give them a pat on the back and moments when I wanted to say, No Way! This for me, makes a good book. It is impossible not to  tread on toes and there were a few moments when I wanted to challenge theological thinking but this does not take away from the importance of the contributions.

Thank you to all involved for beginning this journey. I am looking forward to see how it will unfold.

Personal scoring 4/5

To buy a copy in the UK – follow the link from Gemma Dunning page here

Snapchat – think twice before using

I am amazed by how many people use Snapchat – it was back in August 2013 that I was downloading new apps when I read this post from Adam Mclane that shared the negative aspects of the app. I deleted it straight away and have never used it.

Adam highlights some significant dangers of the app, its false promises and its darker side, this was a convincer for me, which is why I struggle to understand why others would choose to use it. Is it because of a lack of knowledge? Is it because people love to flirt with danger? Do people love sexual ‘picture’ frivolity too much? These may all have an element of truth behind them but there are as many who just do not care. The recent upsurge in my contacts who are using this app have not convinced me to try it – in fact it is a brick wall that is faced when trying to convince them of the dangers inherent in having the app at all.

Perhaps the greatest resonance of concern is with parents of children and teens. Parents are concerned of the wider stories of sexual predators and what this may entail but seemingly less concerned about the insidious slide of decay when we talk of morality and the way we view our bodies.

It may be true that there are plenty of users who use the app in ‘appropriate ways’ but the question then – why the need for supposed anonymity (nothing is truly deleted once posted!) of the app? There are plenty of other alternatives.

If you are a snapchat user, or thinking about it, please think again – it is not all that it is cracked up to be.  This post will disappear within 10 seconds of you reading it! (Oh no it wont – 😉 )

Snapchat by mclane

One blogger that I enjoy reading is Adam Mclane as he regularly posts those positive critique posts that are enjoyable and challenging. Back in August, he posted about snapchat with the express purpose of getting people to delete the app from their phones and with the recent furore over snapchat, his blog went stratospheric with over a million hits on one day.
His book A Parent’s Guide to Understanding Social Media: Helping Your Teenager Navigate Life Online is one that we read as a family and has been valuable in our use of social media, there are valuable lessons to consider in it – most of which snapchat cuts right through – and I would encourage you to read this book, and delete snapchat as well as put some principles in place for you and the family.
Social media is wonderful but there can be consequences, voices like Adam’s are well worth listening to. He has a good balance in his thinking and I am pleased that we have people like him to be a voice in this wonderful world. Thanks Adam.

loneliness in leadership

Been thinking through some stuff as I was challenged by a quote that I posted here and then read through a post by Adam that furthered my thoughts.

Much of our thinking tends to centre on the leader and their style of leadership or even the things they need to do in order to combat loneliness.  However, what if we were to think at the issue from a different angle? – the way we treat those in leadership.  What if we honoured them, rather than knock them?  What if we gave them space, rather than demand time?  What if we trusted their decisions, even if they looked crazy?  What if we loved them, instead of loathing them?

Plenty of ‘what if’ questions – there still needs to be a sense of accountability or we would end up with many more dictators.  But I do wonder why followers put all the expectation on the leader, why the leader accepts all that baggage and if there is a different path that we could tread?  Can it be different?  I think it can!