How Christians should respond to Jamie Lynn Spears and other pregnant teens …What would you do if Jamie Lynn Spears lived next door? Would you shun her for fear that embracing her would encourage other teens to do the same? Would you try to help her? Would you approach her with a message of hope?
How should Christians, and the church, respond to a pregnant teen? Here are a few ideas:
1. Show her your love. Teen pregnancy is the perfect time to reach out to young women. They are often scared. They know people are talking about them. They know that as the months pass their “sin” will be sticking out in front of them—their belly pointing to their shame. Showing love to a young woman during this time displays the love of Jesus.
2. Spend time with her. If Jamie Lynn lived next door, I’d invite her to coffee and I’d tell her my story—of how I found Christ during my teen pregnancy. I’d also listen to her: to her worries, her concerns, her plans, and her hopes. Often during teen pregnancy a young woman loses her whole support system. More times than not, her boyfriend dumps her, her friends continue on with their lives, and there are strained relationships with her parents and other family members. Step in and be a support where others have stepped out.
3. Give her hope. Share about your personal relationship with Jesus. Tell how He’s transformed her life. Encourage her to read her Bible. Tell her how she can start a relationship with Jesus by accepting, believing, and confessing. Teen pregnancy shows that girls are looking for love … and we can show them where true love is found.
4. Encourage her to speak out to other teens. We shouldn’t be shocked when the media sells sex and then kids buy into it, yet there is a voice of reason … from the young woman living through the consequences. Encourage the pregnant teen to share her story with other teens in an effort to help them make better choices.
5. Give her a baby shower and celebrate life. Even though we should not celebrate teens having sex before marriage, we SHOULD celebrate life. If a young woman chooses life instead of an abortion, we should applaud this fact. We should do what we can to support her decision with material items, with educational support, and with physical help, such as rides to the doctor and to school.
6. Help her to find support from others who understand. Create support group for teen moms. You can find out more information about creating a Teen MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) support group by going to www.mops.org/teen
7. Advise her on how to make better decisions in her future. My Life, Unscripted (Thomas Nelson) is a book for teen girls, encouraging them to script their lives instead of being caught up in the drama and emotions of the moment.
I had my son at age 17, and the women from my grandmother’s church reached out to me. Because of their love, I found Christ. Pregnancy often becomes a time when teens are looking for help and hope.
We can SUPPORT teen moms just as Jesus would. We can share His love without spreading the message that it's okay to have sex outside of marriage. Christians and the church can love people despite their unwise choices ... just like Jesus did.
Know a teen mom? Tricia Goyer has written: Life Interrupted: The Scoop on Being Young Mom (Zondervan)
Tricia Goyer writes articles for national publications such as Focus on the Family and is a columnist for teen moms through MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) International: (www.mops.org/teen)
She is also an author of the parenting book: Generation NeXt Parenting (Multnomah), which speaks to parents about the unique parenting challenges and issues of our generation.
For more information, go to: http://www.triciagoyer.com/