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New resource offers counseling on violence, other teen issues


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Today’s youth face a world of problems — school violence being only one — and helping has become increasingly difficult for churches.
At a time when, according to a recent report by the U.S. Secret Service, technologies to prevent violence in schools may not be enough, teens themselves may find help from a new computer resource from LifeWay Christian Resources.
“The 24-Hour Counselor,” a set of recorded counseling sessions dealing with topics affecting youth, is now being released as a CD-ROM, said Richard Ross, youth ministry consultant for LifeWay and the project’s compiler. The resource was originally released in the 1980s on audiocassettes, and churches could make as many copies of the tapes as needed to distribute to youth in their communities.
The updated 24-Hour Counselor software, which adds a session on teenage violence, functions like an Internet website, allowing the user to navigate to any session by clicking on a link.
Each member of a church’s youth group could be given a copy of the Web browser-like software, Ross said. Any teenager could then use The 24-Hour Counselor at any time in the privacy of his or her home. The resource does, however, encourage its users to seek help from a parent, counselor or youth minister.
The resource covers 24 different circumstances that young people may face, ranging from loneliness and depression to peer pressure and pregnancy, Ross said. Others include date rape, eating disorders and teen pregnancy.
This project provides “real-life responses to real-life crises,” said Tony Rankin, a Christian psychologist practicing in Nashville, Tenn., and the writer of the new session on violence.
“Every bit of that information comes from real-life situations that I’ve had with kids,” said Rankin, who earlier served 12 years as a youth minister.
Ironically, Rankin said Ross called him about the project on April 20, about one hour before news of the Littleton, Colo., shootings broke, in which two teenagers from Columbine High School went on a rampage, killing 12 students and a teacher before taking their own lives.
Many underlying currents affect teens who resort to violence, Rankin said. Peer acceptance and even self-acceptance can be major factors.
Often, he said, violent acts perpetrated by teenagers are actually suicide missions. Harboring bitterness toward their peers, teens decide to end their lives and hurt some other people at the same time.
“There’s a whole lot of looking for purpose,” Rankin said, “a reason to live.”
The 24-Hour Counselor points to the best reason, Ross noted. Every page has a link to a six-minute video that presents the plan of salvation.
No matter what teenagers are facing, Ross said, “the core of the issue is that they need a relationship with Jesus Christ.”
“I think of this as the digital gospel tract of this generation,” he said. “We’re giving it to them in a form they can relate to.”
Churches may purchase a package containing 25 copies of “The 24-Hour Counselor” CD-ROM for $64.99. To order call 1-800-458-2772 or send an e-mail message to [email protected]

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  • Tony Imms