boundaries for youth workers and text messaging

i received an interesting question in a comment:


I’m a senior pastor of a church and have a youth worker question I’d like some advice on – was wondering if you get questions about it ever? Thought you could post for response???? My youth workers are text message addicts and they are on their phones constantly with kids. I am realizing that the kids are text messaging them at 12, 1, 2 in the morning. Parents are complaining. What kind of limits do other churches place on this – how do you define “crisis”? How do you tell a youth that it can wait until tomorrow? I don’t want my youth workers modeling being up that late, but don’t know how to change this culture.



i have a couple thoughts – mainly that youth workers, for their own health, and for the health (i’m not only talking about physical health, of course) – should have boundaries. texting kids at 1 and 2 in the morning should surely not be normative, especially if parents are complaining!

but, i’d be very interested in hearing the wisdom of the youth worker collective. thoughts?

51 thoughts on “boundaries for youth workers and text messaging”

  1. I know this is an old post, most likely nobody will ever read this, but I’ll throw my two-cents in.

    As the parent of a 12 year old daughter, we have recently had an incident of her texting a pastor friend late at night (10 PM to midnight-ish). The texts were initiated by my daughter, and nothing even remotely inappropriate was said by either. The pastor even contacted me after to be sure I have a way of monitoring texts on my daughter’s phone—I do, I know all her contacts so I don’t sit down regularly and examine every word of every text, but I do skim through every now and then. He never “snitched” on her / outright told me of the-late night texting, but after mulling it over I decided there was subtext to his inquiry about my being able to see my daughter’s phone activity so I did some skimming (had he not mentioned it, I would’ve likely been a while ever noticing).

    Do I *like* the fact my pre-teen is texting late at night? Not particularly. But I know she legitimately suffers from insomnia (has long before a phone entered her world, so the phone is not to blame). I also know she’s going to do something during those hours. If the worst thing she does is text a pastor (especially one who seeks the accountability of knowing I do have access to their communication), as long as she isn’t bothering him / she respects boundaries when he says he needs to go, then I’m in pretty good shape.

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