Have We Missed The Boat?

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Working within the context of the church does not mean we live in a bubble of sexually pure youth. Perhaps our average of sexually active teens is lower than those that do not have faith in Jesus Christ but the harsh reality is that it’s happening in the church.

NBC News and PEOPLE Magazine (2005) commissioned a study looking into the issues of teen sexual attitudes and practices. The survey was conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International. The poll was conducted with teens ranging from 13-16 years of age. The reality of this survey is shocking to say the least.

The survey states:

“Nearly 3 in 10 (27%) thirteen to sixteen year-olds are sexually active and “have been with someone in an intimate or sexual way.” Most of these sexually active teens have touched someone else’s genitals and almost half have had oral sex and/or had sexual intercourse. Sexual activity is much more common among 15 to 16 year-olds (41%) than 13 to 14 year-olds (14%).”

The reality is these numbers are not much different within the context of the church. It begs the question, “Is the church missing the mark on teaching God’s perspective on sexual purity to our teens?”

The television shows our teens our watching, the music they are listening to and the magazines and websites they look through are doing a great job of teaching our youth what sex is all about. They are plastered with images of airbrushed women and buffed men who become “eye candy” that our youth should not be tasting at such a young age. How many parents today take the time to look at their son or daughter’s iPod and check out the music they are listening to? Sexual content on the internet is now at their finger tips--they have access to pornography online, anytime. Check out this article in Relevant Magazine.

Take a look at this summary of the Princeton Survey Research: SUMMARY TABLE: Teens receive information about sex and sexual relationships (2005)

  • Parents 70%
  • Friends 53%
  • Teachers, the school counselor or nurse 53%
  • TV shows or movies 51%
  • Boyfriends, girlfriends or partners 37%
  • Magazines 34%
  • Brothers and sisters 26%
  • The Internet 19%

The church is not even mentioned! It’s a bold statement but I will say it: The teens in our churches are having sex and perhaps we have played a part in it. There you go, as a youth pastor I said it and I also claim some responsibility to this problem among our teens. But it’s never too late for us as youth workers across North America to turn this ship around and teach our youth about God’s perspective on sexual intimacy.

One of the best studies that I have done over the years is the Song of Solomon series by Pastor Tommy Nelson. He takes the entire book, breaks it down verse by verse and shares God’s desire for a healthy Christian relationship between a man and woman. The Song of Solomon is one of those books that is not used on a regular basis for a sermon series or youth group teaching but let me challenge you as you read this, open this wonderful love story and share it with your youth!

God created love, relationships, intimacy and marriage. So why would He not give guidelines on how to go about each of these? The Song of Solomon is a book smack in the middle of the Bible that deals with all aspects of relationships from God’s perspective.

I remember when I introduced to my church that we were going to study the Song of Solomon as our study for the year. Parents came to me thanking me that I would be addressing this important issue. One parent shared that their daughter was dating a young man that was not a follower of Jesus Christ and a series such as this would hopefully give some guidance to their daughter.

As a youth pastor, don’t live in a bubble thinking that none of the youth in your group are not sexually active. It is my prayer that all the youth in your group have a clear, biblical understanding of God’s view on this topic, but statistics and reality tell me different.

So be bold and take the time needed to teach your youth God’s intention for relationship. Let’s reclaim it for the gift that it originally was!

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Related Resources:

The Skit Guys:

Faith Alive Resources:

Dr. Phil:

The Dove Evolution:

Focus on the Family:

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Thanks Marcel - it needs to be said. I haven't checked out the resources you mentioned (except the skit guys-couldn't pass that up), but thought I'd pass along another resource I've used recently. It's from a fairly unorthodox guy, but he's engaging and fun to listen to and says it like it is. His name is Mark Gungor and he does the laugh your way to a better marriage seminars which are great. He recently put out a resource called "Sex, Dating & Relating: Teen Edition" that I've used with students. I think it's worth checking out. I only used the parts where Mark talks and found it pretty good.
www.laughyourway.com