Texting with Teens: Sample Policies

Develop procedures for participants, youth ministry workers to follow

Have you ever typed an instant message that could be misconstrued or have you ever regretted something you posted online?

Electronic communication can open your ministry to liability in many ways, especially when adults are communicating with minors involved in your youth ministry.

Brotherhood Mutual strongly encourages your ministry to adopt a policy addressing how ministry volunteers and employees will conduct themselves when using electronic media, such as texting or Facebook posts, to talk with young people involved in church activities.

Offer Education

  1. Develop a policy that states your ministry’s position on using electronic forms of communication within youth ministry. The policy should include best practices as well as legal parameters.
  2. Educate youth ministry leaders and volunteers about the dangers electronic communication can pose. Ask them to sign a consent form committing themselves to abide by your ministry’s policy.
  3. Ask leaders to remind students occasionally about the ministry’s communications policy and the dangers of such conduct as “sexting.”
  4. Encourage ministry youth workers to send most texts or emails to a group rather than to individuals. This approach eliminates problems associated with one-on-one electronic communication.
  5. Create forms for both youth ministry participants and their parents or guardians to sign, stating the risks of inappropriate electronic communication and asking them to commit to following your ministry’s policy.

Adopt a Policy

Brotherhood Mutual has created a sample policy and related consent forms that can be modified to suit your ministry. As with any sample policies or forms, please consult a local attorney before putting them into practice.

Youth Ministry Communication Policy (PDF 73k)
Consent Form for Youth Ministry Workers (PDF 65k)
Consent Form for Youth Ministry Participants (PDF 67k)
Consent Form for Parents/Guardians (PDF 67k)