What Do I Do When Teenagers Question Their Sexuality by Steven Gerali

I love being a youth minister. God has used me to influence the lives of many young people over the years. It’s an enormous privilege. And it’s not just because I can justify buying video games as a ministry expense. The big reward is seeing the results of your hard work, when you see a young person growing in godliness and maturity. But before you get to that point, there’s a lot of trials along the way. And a lot of conversations. Some of them you are prepared for. Some of them come out of nowhere and you don’t know how to deal with them.

That’s why Steven Gerali’s new series of books What Do I Do When… is such a valuable resource.

You want to be prepared for every situation. You want to be there for a teenager who is struggling. And these books promise to help you bring your A game. So far, I’ve read one of the books in this series, What Do I Do When Teenagers Question Their Sexuality? Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you have to talk about homosexuality with a young person? If you haven’t, statistically it’s only a matter of time.

This book is not a detailed theology of homosexuality. It doesn’t attempt to outline a position and convince you that this is the one true perspective on being gay. If that’s what you’re looking for, keep looking. What this book does do is help you get inside the mind of a teenager who is questioning their sexuality. It outlines key terms and ideas. It gives you an insight into what they are thinking and the fears that they have. Most of all, this book encourages you to shut up, listen to the young person and love them.

For many people, when it comes to issues like homosexuality the first impulse is to preach. To outline what the Bible says and condemn anything that is not Biblical. There’s a time and a place for that. Gerali argues that the time and place is not when a young person confesses to you that their struggling with the issue. Instead, he reminds the reader that the young person is scared, unsure what is going on, and needs to know the love and grace that God has promised to his people. There’s a big difference between someone struggling with unwanted same sex attraction and someone who is committed to the homosexual life style. Tact, patience and love are needed. Not fire and brimstone.

What Do I Do When Teenagers Question Their Sexuality does a great job of getting the reader to empathise with a struggling young person. It really helped me think through what I would do next time this issue came up. Some of the terms and ideas Gerali describes are ones I’d never heard of before, most likely because they are more common in the USA than they are here in Sydney. But the intention behind them was still clear.

If you work with young people, reading this book is a very good idea. In this same series, Gerali has also written about eating disorders, bullying, death, abuse and depression. After reading this book, I will definitely be getting my hands on the rest. Highly recommended.

I found my copy at Moore Books.

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About Joel A Moroney

Associate Minister at St Luke's Anglican Church, Liverpool (in the Sydney Diocese). A very strange man, but he usually has Pez, so that makes it okay.

One response to “What Do I Do When Teenagers Question Their Sexuality by Steven Gerali”

  1. Lue-Yee Tsang says :

    I myself don’t find the word homosexuality useful, because it fails to do justice to my Christian identity, my temptations and my choices.

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