Floyd Godfrey, PhD


Building Confidentiality and Trust in Christian Teen Ministries

By Floyd Godfrey

*To watch my presentation on this topic: YouTube.


In the sacred journey of nurturing faith among young believers, small groups within Christian teen ministries serve as vital sanctuaries for exploration, growth, and fellowship. The effectiveness of these groups significantly hinges on the foundation of confidentiality and trust, principles that not only reflect Christian values but also foster a safe and supportive environment for spiritual development. This article underscores the pivotal role of confidentiality in cultivating trust and outlines practical steps for pastors and volunteers to reinforce this critical aspect in small groups.

Scriptural Anchors for Confidentiality

The wisdom of Scripture profoundly underscores the importance of trust and confidentiality. Proverbs 11:13 highlights the virtue of discretion, stating, "Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets, but he who is trustworthy in spirit keeps a thing covered." Similarly, Proverbs 17:9 teaches, "Whoever covers an offense seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates close friends." These verses serve as guiding lights, emphasizing the need for guardians of trust within our small groups to nurture a culture of confidentiality and mutual respect.

Establishing Clear Expectations

The bedrock of confidentiality in small groups is set through clear expectations. From the very outset, it's crucial that leaders articulate the importance of confidentiality to all members, ensuring that personal stories and struggles shared within the group remain within the group. This can be initiated during the group's introduction, with regular reminders reinforcing the concept. Informing parents about the group's confidentiality policy, while also respecting the autonomy and trust placed in the group by its members, balances transparency with guardianship.

Cultivating a Culture of Trust

Building a culture of trust goes beyond establishing rules; it involves creating a sense of belonging and safety where each member feels valued and understood. This can be achieved through rituals for new members that emphasize the group's commitment to confidentiality, alongside practices such as sharing personal stories only with explicit permission. Such measures not only protect individual privacy but also promote a deeper sense of community and love, as outlined in the Scriptures.

Navigating Challenges with Wisdom

While fostering an environment of confidentiality, leaders must be prepared to navigate the delicate balance between maintaining trust and addressing safety concerns. Leaders should be equipped to discern situations where confidentiality may need to be breached for the sake of a member's safety or well-being, always with a spirit of love, care, and responsibility at the forefront.


In the ministry to teens, where the terrain of the heart is often as tender as it is tumultuous, establishing and maintaining confidentiality within small groups is non-negotiable. As leaders, our call is to mirror the trustworthiness of Christ, creating spaces where young believers can freely share, grow, and thrive in their faith journey. By adhering to the principles of confidentiality, informed by Scriptural wisdom and implemented through thoughtful practices, we can cultivate small groups that truly reflect the love, trust, and belonging that every young person seeks in their walk with God.

Let us, therefore, commit to being diligent stewards of the stories entrusted to us, fostering an atmosphere where confidentiality and trust pave the way for meaningful connections and spiritual growth within our Christian teen ministries.

Floyd Godfrey has led various teen groups within different churches and denominations over the past 30 years. He worked as a licensed counselor for 23 years and provided supervision and training for other counselors as they learned to develop adolescent intervention and programming. You can read more about Floyd Godfrey at www.FloydGodfrey.com.


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