Churches in NZ and abroad spend a lot of time ministering to youth via youth groups, but the emphasis in these groups tends to be on single youth who haven't moved up to the marriage or parenthood level yet.
A booklet called Supporting Teen Fathers has just come to my attention, and makes me wonder how many teen fathers most churches have anything to do with. My experience makes me think it's a very small number, but I guess I could be wrong. (And how many teen fathers would be inclined to go to a 'youth' group?)
The booklet has been put out by the Ministry of Social Development, and on their website they outline the way in which the booklet is laid out:
Part 1 of the resource outlines what is known about teen fathers in New Zealand, including their characteristics and needs. It discusses the roles fathers play, and the cultural context of being a father in New Zealand.
Part 2 covers things to consider when developing services for teen fathers:
- finding out about teen fathers in your community
- considering effective approaches to supporting teen fathers
- recognising the importance of identity, mana, whakapapa and whanaungatanga
- providing parenting support services to teen fathers
- supporting teen fathers with other areas of their lives
- deciding how to deliver services
- selecting people to work with teen fathers
- getting teen fathers involved and keeping them engaged
- creating environments that are teen father friendly
- working with families and whānau
- working with other services
- monitoring, evaluating and reflecting on practice.
One useful starting place in the book, it seems to me, is the first on the list in section two: finding out about teen fathers in your community. This could be a valuable area for your church to check out....
You can download the booklet from the website either as a pdf or Word doc, or can purchase a hard copy.