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June 19, 2011



My daughter has valued Joshua Harris's book "I Kissed Dating Goodbye". I have not read it myself but she tells me much about it and from what I hear I am grateful for it and has started to share it amongst her friends. It is difficult for parents to know how to guide their children and especially when as with my wife and I we do not come from a christian background and so these warnings and guidelines you have put forward are very helpful. Thanks.

K in Philly

My father's church, which is a believing church but in a denomination that does ordain women, hired a husband and wife team to be their youth leaders. Both are graduates of seminary. They actually split the full time salary between them, and of course only need one set of family coverage for health care. The husband also works another job, and the wife spends the rest of her time with their two little ones. (and of course is able to do lots of stuff with the youth with the kids along too).

As a rule I am not in favor of women as pastors, as I don't see that there is any wiggle room in scripture, but in terms of a youth group (i.e. non adults who are being led) I think this is a GREAT arrangement. Not only do the girls in both the middle and high schools groups have a warm Godly woman available to them, but the interactions with her husband are just that .. the girls know that he is her husband. (and vice versa for the teen guys in the group)

Sarah Patch

Glad you wrote this Carolyn. I think the first of the bullet points is particularly valuable. Great post!


I absolutely agree that young girls need to be taught how to discern the intentions of men. The women in our church were recently talking about this in light of the sex trade and how so many young girls are lured in because they are naive and are honestly just looking for love. We need to train our daughters to detect and discern noble and ignoble motives. Great post.

Stephanie B.

Fascinating situation, and I'm glad the church is making amends. It is always hard to make sure "things done in secret" are brought to the light, but I'm glad it is happening in this case. I wholeheartedly agree with your points about what young ladies need to be taught and of what they need to be made aware (regarding behaviors by men, esp. those in church leadership, but really any guy who shows them interest!). Such damage is done to the Body in cases like this; it grieves my heart and I hope that as a whole the Church can continue to root out this type of behavior- for the glory of the Father, not just to "save face" with the public.


Awesome message but it shouldn't be just for young girls, plenty of young men are taken advantage of in the same situations as well.


Thank you sharing your experience, Carolyn. This is indeed a real danger. Thanks for bringing up the issue of things done in secret.

Tamara Kaufman

This was such a great article that I have "reblogged" it. I hope you don't mind. Thank you for writing something so clearly on this subject.


I've recently begun to visit this blog via a link on GirlTalk. Although I've not read your books yet (emphasis here: this oversight will be corrected SOON), I've found myself... strengthened, encouraged, edified, Sharpened by the words you offer, Carolyn. As a mother of six children (the oldest daughter will turn 18 in November and the youngest child is 2), former victim, and redeemed daughter of the King Most High, I can't tell you how much this particular post has stirred me up. Over the past month, as I've read your posts and looked through your CityGate Films site, and in poking around at many of your links, I have been profoundly moved to begin a purposeful women's ministry within my local church. We are a Bible-preaching, Christ-exalting body that love each other and our Lord. Yet, as I read about Titus 2 discleship/discernment discussion you recommend (and the Bible commands), I am pricked again: we simply do not have an established structure/place/format in our church body for woman to woman mentoring (aside from the occasional book study). Allowing that such important, frank discussions are going on in every home, it seems that much support can be given and gained from a corporal approach as well. I'm wondering: if you were to give a list of practical steps for beginning such a ministry or discipleship, what might it entail? (Note: first on my list will be Radical Womanhood, as I'm anticipating much "meat" there...) Thank you for your time in this blog. I'm amazed at how chock full it is of book reviews, Biblical guidance, and frank, transparent discussion and consideration.


*Just one addition to my previous comment: I searched out the True Woman link and conference! Wow! Sounds just like what I was asking for! Thanks for linking your readers to such great material and opportunity.

Holly Poe

I was concerned when your article began with "I had briefly attended an UNBIBLICAL church". It's not wise to imply that this type of thing only goes on there & therefore if a girl goes to the RIGHT church it won't happen...Unfortunately, we live in a sinful world & we are sinful people (only saved by the grace of God) and even in Biblical solid churches with godly leadership there are sinful people...even in pastoral roles as well as elders and deacons, it's unfortunate but true. Please look at Hebrews 11...isn't Samson listed in God's Hall of Faith? Other than that, I felt your article was 'spot on' :-) Blessings


There's nothing I could disagree with in your post, Carolyn. However, I would urge you to emphasize the underlying spiritual need.

Yes, girls need training in how to identify and protect themselves from predatory, evil males. But it isn't just that. Men and women - everyone - all of us in our current anti-god, androgynous, liberal society - need constant training and re-training in the subject matter of that beautiful vision for manhood and womanhood that God designed.

It's the same either direction, as 'Okiepokie' above points out:

--Women need training in how God would like to see them treating the men around them - yes, with all due wisdom and discernment.

--Men need training in how God would like to see them treating the women around them - again, with all due wisdom and discernment.

In either direction, to cast the opposite gender as a significant percentage predatory and evil, without emphasis on the positive message and solution, may be counterproductive. It could contribute to the increasing gender-hostility, rather than to the gender-harmony we seek.

Increasing gender-hostility helps neither gender.


This is a critical teaching in light of the popularity of the Twilight series. These novels and movies glamorize the predator relationship, deceptively portraying it as safe and protective. It breaks my heart that this is the image of "love" that so many young women are absorbing into their hearts and minds today. Since this is the obvious strategy of the enemy, we need to be intentional about teaching truth in this area.


Okiepokie is correct regarding young men. Those of us in the Washington, DC area may remember that a male former teacher and counselor received a 25-year prison sentence last month for molesting teenage boys. In addition, there have been several high-profile instances around the country of female teachers prosecuted for seducing male students. I realize these are examples from outside the church, but they illustrate Okiepokie's point.

Carolyn, I'm grieved that you were mistreated sexually by an authority figure in the church. However, as a single man I'm also grieved that your "common sense" statement reinforced negative stereotypes about us. Just because a man is single doesn't necessarily mean he's a predator (or, for that matter, immature, irresponsible, and/or porn-addicted). Likewise, just because a man is married doesn't necessarily mean he's pure. Within the last two months, for example, a married senator and a married congressman resigned their respective positions due to sexual misconduct.

A survey conducted in 2005 by University of Virginia professor W. Bradford Wilcox found that only 15% of single men attend church weekly, as opposed to 32% of married men. Undoubtedly the majority of non-attendees don't know the Lord. I can't help but wonder, though, if a significant minority of single men love the Lord but grew sick and tired of being judged inferior, or worse, by their churches solely because of their marital status.


I am so glad you wrote this article! For the past couple of years now, that Scripture about "He must not be a recent convert" rang true in my mind constantly.

I've been approached {an an adult} in two different churchs {one by the pastor I was the church sec, and by my counselor/deacon} in an almost similar manner. I never said anything to anyone in the church b/c both men had families that I was very close to and had small children. I couldn't see myself devestating their wives like that.

These men "know" the Bible and seem above board. I believe their wives are even fool to the degree of the deparvity lurking within her bed! Many of these guys are preditors {I've done reading on their behavior for the past two years—almost obessively because I just can't figure out how I was fool, or rather I couldn't figure it out, but now I know.}

They suffer from "personality disorders" such as passive-aggressive, narcassism and others. They are good because this has alwasy been their way and like you said, "It works." They are so good until they can fool some of the elect.

For a long time, I couldn't understand how they could be the way that they are appearing to be so "faitful", but the key is "apperance" for them. They want to look like mainstream American's though their heart is far from it.

Church leadership overlooking this sort of person and this Scripture is just openly inviting Satan in to reek havoc on the flock.

I've told myself that I will never be so open with any church leader again. I've learned to talk to God and leave it. More than anything, though, I've learned that I should never feel so comfortable as a female having and trusting men as my "best" friends.


My DH was involved in a church when he was a pre-teen where a male youth leader molested at least one young man in the group. Both boys and girls in the church can be a target for criminals and criminals often target church environments because of how "trusting" we can be. Adults need to be vigilant. Children should be trained to recognize what is and isn't acceptable behavior. Leaders need to be very open in confronting the danger, whether potential or when an incident has occurred. Cover ups should not be tolerated, nor should Christian values like "forgiveness" be used to manipulate victims and their families into staying silent.


After reading all of the comments each one I find myself nodding my head in agreement.
Angela, Wow, could I relate. Unfortunately, the relationships we all long with one an other, sometimes is taken advantage of and leave us wanting to keep us protected from any other possibility of becoming hurt again.
Satan works that way to. He wants you to isolate yourself from any potential relationships that will strengthen you. Might I suggest, confiding and sharing with anyone to be done with a leader of the church which is female. I have learned not to share anything of any significance with male leaders. IF and that's a BIG IF, I do share, I share with my Pastors wife present in the midst of my confiding. I also never place myself in a situation to be alone with a male in my church. Whether that be to sit and bible study or a ride home, it just doesn't happen. It's a rule in our church.
I just recently ended a relationship.

I thank God for His will and not mine.


This was a great article. I usually read this blog without leaving any comments, but this article was an exception. I just had to say thank you for writing about this very important topic. The first and last points really hit home for me (what is godly is done in the light, and actions should match up with words).

Could you suggest any additional resources on this topic(books, articles, blog posts, etc)?

Lisa writes...

Wise words here, particularly relevant as a church in our small town has recently endured (still enduring) a similar scandal. May the Lord grant us discernment!

Stephanie Holmberg

Very wise words. Thank you.


Such great teaching points! As the mother of two daughters this is invaluable info!


Carolyn, maybe you should edit/delete DebraJean's dirty laundry airing above? Not sure what her experience adds to this discussion. Any way your posts is good and timely. I think the biggest take away is that parents need to stay involved and aware of their young people. Keep communication lines open, know where they are and who they are with. Not sure why we have youth groups to begin with because the potential for problems seem to outweigh any benefits. What is the rationale, anyway? Wouldn't older women/younger women mentoring groups be more biblical?

Carolyn McCulley

Good point, Jan. Thanks for suggesting it. DebraJean, I did take the liberty of editing your personal dating story for everyone's edification, but left your other comments. Thanks for participating in this discussion!


Thank you for writing this... a good 'heads-up' to us all. I may not have considered how important it is to instill this discernment in my kids had I not read this. It's so easy to overlook. A hard, but very real and necessary subject to address.

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