Around the beginning of February, youth pastors are scrambling and asking each other, "What should I put in my sex and relationships talk? What should I cover?"
A lot of material focuses on playing it safe and goes way too shallow. Did you know that 90% of 8-16 years old have viewed pornography online? Most often while doing their homework. Not only have they heard about everything you're afraid to say... they've probably seen it. You can grab that stat and more like it from http://xxxchurch.com/stats
So without further ado, here's our ProTips on the matter:
1.) Begin by Telling Students Why God Loves Them.
God loves them because God is love. That never changes. No matter what we do or who we are - God's love isn't based on what we do or who we are. It's based on who He is and what His Son has done. You're gonna talk about a lot of stuff that provides Satan with an opportunity to accuse. You want to lay this on thick and protect them from feeling condemnation.
2.) Reaffirm that God Created Sex
We're not here to talk about why people shouldn't have sex. We're not here to talk about STDs and teen pregnancy. We're here to talk about how great, meaningful, loving, and godly sex can be - when done under the right conditions.
3.) Dispel the "Sex as Purely Physical" Myth
I met a drunk girl on the streets of my hometown one day while out with a friend. She ended up talking to us about her sex life. She said, "I've had sex with a lot of people - but I've never made love with anyone." She had decided... and culture had taught her that sex can be purely physical. There is no such thing as casual sex. There is no such thing as meaningless sex. There is no such thing as "friends with benefits."
The thing is... our culture agrees with this (unless it's inconvenient for them). Even our judicial system agrees with us. When someone is molested... it's called sexual abuse. Its not called physical abuse... because we know that something more than the physical has taken place. When someone is raped they don't just experience physical pain. You'd never compare it to someone who broke their arm once. That would be absurd. People who are raped or molested experience physical pain, psychological pain, emotional pain, and spiritual pain. Sex is undoubtedly more than physical.
4.)Make It Clear: Sex is For Marriage
Of course, we know this but they don't. I asked one of my Juniors when they were planning on having sex and they said, "I'm not sure... I know I'm not ready now... probably when I'm 22." We got to have an awesome dialogue about God's expectations for his sex life.
One of my youth told me a story about a girl who (Before I came to this church) asked, "Where in the Bible does it say that people can't have sex until marriage?" And apparently (so the story goes) no one could answer her.
5.) Discuss "Intimacy Killers"
Talk about the dangers of lust (checking each other out). It's something adults encourage kids to do. Girl magazines have pages called "eye candy" with half naked guys. You can't walk through a grocery store check out line or downs the aisles of a convenience store without some adult trying to convince you to lust. Writers, editors, photographers, models - they're all hell bent on making sure our students lust after their final product.
Talk about the dangerous reality of pornography. To feel better equipped you can check out xxxchurch.com or fightthenewdrug.org. Talk about the dangers of pornography - not only to those who use it but also to those who work in the industry. Lives are being destroyed and taking part in such death is absolutely not a part of the Christian life.
6.) Redirect "How Far is Too Far"
You don't want to answer this question so much as you want to get them to start asking a different question: "How do I glorify God with my relationship?" "How do I make sure I don't hurt my boyfriend or girlfriend?" "How do I act in such a way that I'd be able to hold my head up high if I was invited to my girlfriend's future wedding (if she married someone else)?" Chances are - the person your dating is someone else's future spouse. They're definitely your brother or sister in Christ and they only become something more than that once you're married to them.
7.) Promote Healthy Dating: Define Love
Give students an awesome working definition of love so that they can know how to show love in a godly way. Then challenge students to love the person that they're dating. Most of the time we reserve saying "I love you" until things get more serious. I even know a guy who is waiting until marriage to speak those words. Regardless of when you say it - you still need to love them.
8.) Promote Purposeful Dating
I heard the other day that Christians are the best planners. Everything we do is based or ought to be based around one fact: Jesus Christ is coming back. Doesn't Paul say: Whatever you do, whether you eat or drink, do it for the glory of God? We need to teach our students that thoughtless dating is not God honoring. So many times I've met Christian teens who are dating someone they know they would never marry. Christians aren't called to live for the temporary. Christians don't treat others as objects to be consumed. Christians don't get what they can out of someone and then toss them aside when they're done with them. Christians value others better than themselves. Christians treat others with value, love, respect, and dignity. Dating someone just for kicks is not a part of who we are - even if the other person agrees to it.
9.) Promote Equally Yokedness
When Paul says that believers need to be equally yoked with others - he isn't talking exclusively about marriage. He's just talking about our close partnerships with anyone in our lives. And so he says - don't be unequally yoked with nonbelievers. This definitely applies to our dating relationships. We need to date someone who knows our God, follows our God, loves our God, and encourages/challenges us to do so as well. Having a close partnership (dating relationship) with a nonbeliever doesn't make sense and isn't wise.
10.) Promote Singleness. (Dispel the Myth that God Created Someone Special for Them.)
Girls love to latch on to this idea. Youth Pastors love to perpetuate it.
"Save yourself for your future spouse."
- What? What if they don't get married? What if there is no future spouse?
"Pray for you future spouse."
- Again, what if God doesn't want you to get married?
The godliness of singleness should always be a very important part of every relationship talk. Even Paul managed to make it a focus when he talked about relationships. He even thinks singleness is better than marriage! So why doesn't it ever come up when we talk about marriage with our students? That's ridiculous?
Who is your soul mate? It's whoever your soul mates with. If you have sex - you found your soul mate. Congratulations. That's how it works. You decide. God bestows on you awesome mysterious power to become one with someone else. You don't have to travel the world or pray really hard or scour the internet to find "the one" for you. Because there isn't one for you. For some, there might be a lot. For others, there might not be any.
Okay. Let's lay it out clearly. If there was one person for everyone... then homosexuals are marrying someone else's future spouse that was never intended for them. If that's the case then their original partner that they should've married will go on to marry someone else (who also was meant for someone else). Not to mention that but there are more men than women in the world at any given moment so you tell me how that math is supposed to work out.
Get this idea in your minds please: On any given Sunday there are 13 million more adult women than men in America’s churches. You're telling your Christian girls not to be unequally yoked but also telling them to hope for their future spouse but you know that there's not enough christian men for every christian woman in the church. So why aren't we talking more about celibacy and singleness?
11.) Full Surrender, Above All
This is the basis of everything we've discussed. Christianity can be summed up in a continual, daily, surrendering to God. Whoever seeks to keep their life will lose it and whoever loses their life will preserve it. Giving our lives to Christ also includes our dating, our sex, our singleness, our marriage.
12.) End With A Non-Shaming Object Lesson
Too often object lessons surrounding sex talks are meant to scare, belittle, shame, embarrass, and degrade Christians (usually christian girls). Don't use any of these.
We take water and spit phlegm in it and say - no one would ever want to drink this. Or we hold up a beautiful rose and encourage others to pass it around during the talk and at the end we say "where's that rose?" and at this point it's been damaged and lost it's beauty and shine and some petals have fallen off because of everyone touching it. And we say, "Who would ever want this rose now?" Or we have a really sticky piece of tape and we press it against someone's shoulder and take it off and go to someone else and press it against their shoulder and take it off and we say, "Every time, we lose our stickiness. We lose our ability to bond." We've thought of a thousand different ways to make Christians feel worthless about themselves when it comes to their sexual past.
Try this instead: Take a hundred dollar bill. Ask people if they want it. Then crumple it up and ask people if they still want it. Now stomp on it. Now spit on it. Now tear it in half. Guess what? It's still worth $100. We're going to sin. We're going to make mistakes. We're going to make a mess of things. God will still think we're valuable. God won't think less of us. Our value isn't based on who we are or what we do but it's based on who God is and God is love and God is unchanging and so God will always love us and that will never change.
That's great Keith, but where's all the scripture to back it up?
Glad you asked. Scripture is important isn't it? It's all in this handy dandy and FREE relationship talk. It'd probably take 2 hours to get through it all - we suggest having it over the course of a couple weeks. Some of the content is current pop culture stuff so if you're traveling back in time or visiting this article a few years after the post you might want to make a few tweaks.
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If you want to pay us for all this hard work then just read the above line and consider that a handsome reward.