Joel is sixteen years old. He has attended youth and children’s activities at the church since he was seven. Over the past two years, he has made a commitment to God and often gives good input in youth meetings. Lately, he seems less enthusiastic and a little drawn. When asked, Joel shares with you that he feels as though he is missing out on things with his friends and has no exciting plans to share on Thursdays about the weekend ahead. He then dreads Mondays when his friends are sharing about how drunk they were over the weekend. Lastly, Joel confesses that he really was not sick at the last meeting but left to ‘hang out’ with some school friends who planned to get drunk.
This fictional scenario presents adolescent issues that need to be dealt with on a pastoral level. Firstly, Joel is facing friendship challenges in his life. Secondly, he has taken a step back from his input at church. Thirdly, he has been faced with the Peer Pressure with regards to beer drinking with his friends. For the purpose of this paper, this case study will present some of the ways and examples of assisting Joel with the issues he is facing from a faith based- pastoral approach.
Having being brought up in a church for many years and God having an impact on Joel’s life, it is clear that he has withheld his input in the youth meetings, has become and less enthusiastic and has started missing the meetings. Therefore, this paper will focus on peer pressure, adolescence, spiritual & emotional needs, faith and how to overcome these outlined issues.
Adolescence Young people in adulthood in scriptures are represented as strong visionaries capable of overcoming Satan. The bible advises to give all young people’s cares to God because he cares about them. The two ways of dealing with adolescence problems are to talk with their parents and to counsel the teenager involved. The youth pastor must have an understanding of what kind of music, video games, language and young people’s values without judging or condemning them. It is only by having this understanding that the youth pastor will be able to change the world young people live in.
In this context, ‘Peer pressure refers to the social and inner pressure to live up to the expectations of others in order to gain ones acceptance and approval.’ Peer pressure can take up copious amounts of energy as it is about pleasing others and doing what one does not enjoy. Unlike healthy friendships, peers value a person on his/her last performance, which is a very unpleasant place to be. As a result this can create tribes, rituals and codes of behaviour amongst peers. Peer groups may separate themselves from adults and parents by creating some images for example, computers, a team or anything that may keeps the group together and private. Thus their values become opposite of parents; whereby hard work is rejected giving value to dossing. This was a critical period in Joel’s life as he was being affected and influenced by his friends. These influences need to be addressed because conformity is dangerous as it can cause one to do things that a person knows are wrong. This is what may happen if one does not have the courage to be different from peers. Youth leaders have a big responsibility to help the young people to grow in their Christian faith and help them to overcome the temptations of life on their Christian journey.
In this scenario the alcohol does not appear to be Joel’s real issue. The issue for Joel was he missed out on what his friends were doing at the weekends, which make him feel left out & isolated. This could lead to damaging Joel’s development as an adult. Making the wrong decisions to be with his friends, Joel was unable to attend Thursday’s youth meeting.
In modern society alcohol drinking is heavily promoted on television; made easily available in places such as local shops 24 hr supermarkets and video shops. Today