Transforming The Lives of Juvenile Offenders by Sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ

​​​​Forgotten Youth Ministries

DO not:

  • It is easy to get caught up in the emotion of the moment and promise something you can not or will not follow though on. Do not make promises you can not or will not keep. Detained kids usually struggle with trust issues already.

  • Do not leave the child or children unattended.
  • Do not promise you will be back at a certain time, for instance, next week. Sickness and emergencies arise and sometimes prevent you from doing so. It is a good idea to let them know this. If you have a good relationship with the teen, they have to wait what seems like a long time to see you again. If you fail to show up, they have to wait an additional week to get an explanation.
  • Do not give any unapproved materials to a child. Make sure all materials are approved by the appropriate staff at the detention center before you bring them in. Detention centers may not allow paper clips, staples, spiral bindings, and treats like candy or gum. Always check with the staff first.  
  • It is usually against the rules, and may be considered inappropriate, to give gifts to a child or children. You may be allowed to offer incentives for completing a certain number of Bible Studies, learning Bible verses or things of this nature.
  • Do not give out personal information such as your phone number or address. To do so may put you and your family at risk. Always check with the staff before giving out any personal information.
  • It is extremely inadvisable to invite a child to your home! At some detention centers to do so will result in your loss of the privilege of ministering at the center.
  • Do not offer advice that does not have scripture to back it up.
  • Do not get overly involved in the child’s life outside the detention center or do so with caution. Be sure to set boundaries. It is not uncommon to have more and more demands placed upon you by family members. Keep your purpose in the teen’s life in mind. 

Do:​

  • Be spiritually ready when you arrive. Pray for your time at the juvenile center and for the kids you are working with throughout the week.
  • Have your materials organized before you arrive.
  • Mention that you are a volunteer and do not get paid.  To know you are not being financially compensated helps build trust more quickly.
  • Do not offer help with their case.
  • Explain to the child that all information is confidential. If working with a small group, explain that anything of a personal nature that is discussed needs to be kept within the group.
  • Pray with the child or group. This seems obvious but is sometimes forgotten.
  • Share the message of God’s love and salvation through Jesus Christ by using the The Truth: Are You Going to Heaven? Bible study offered under The Truth Bible Studies. This is a very powerful and effective way to share the gospel with incarcerated individuals.
  • Give only Biblically-based answers to questions and be able to share the verse you are thinking of when you answer. If you share your personal opinions you should state that you are doing so.

Helpful Hints​