Sex and youth ministry. Not necessarily words that normally go together, right? I’d say it’s pretty safe to say that as a whole, we’ve really let our youth down when it comes to talking about sex at church. Before seminary, I served as the Director of Youth Ministries at a small church, and I can pretty safely say that we talked about sex once. One time. In two years.
I’m currently on year two in my current position as Minister for Youth & Young Adults, and while we talked about sex for one month during Sunday School, that’s still only four times in over a year and a half. Four times. I wonder if they are getting information about sex from other sources throughout their weeks? I’d guess that they hear TONS of wrong/bad/unhelpful/unsafe information about sex at school – a lot more than four times a day…
Part of our problem with not wanting to talk about sex in church is that many of us aren’t quite sure what to say. We aren’t sure we did everything right, we aren’t sure that we “know enough” to share with the young people in our churches…we have many good excuses.
And let’s be honest…most of the Christian sex curriculum out there…well, it’s pretty bad. Some of it downright sucks. And perhaps that’s just another good excuse.
So, what’s the answer? Take all of our kids to a True Love Waits event and have them make the True Love Waits pledge?
“Believing that true love waits, I make a commitment to God, myself, my family, my friends, my future mate, and my future children to a lifetime of purity including sexual abstinence from this day until the day I enter a biblical marriage relationship.”
I’m pretty sure that’s not the answer…even though I did take the pledge once when I was at Nazarene Youth Congress in 1995.
If True Love Waits and other abstinence-only focused sexuality programs aren’t the answer, what is…? Unfortunately, I don’t know that I have the answer – but I do have a lot of questions:
- How do we best talk with the youth in our programs about sex & sexuality?
- How do we live lives that are examples of healthy sexualities for our youth?
- And what should our expectations REALLY be in this area when we really only see them for a couple hours out of their busy weeks?
- Is the church really the place that youth should be getting information about sex/sexuality? Surely it should be a place where they feel safe to ask questions and a place where they feel it’s okay to talk about sex – but is it the primary place they should be relying upon?
I’d love to hear some of your questions – or if you have any thoughts on this issue, please share in the comments below.