RESTORING HEARTS COUNSELING: CALL 719-644-5557

According to a landmark study on the pervasive nature of Internet pornography and its impact on the church, the Barna Group found that less than one-third (32%) of teen and young adults say viewing porn is “usually or always wrong” compared with more than half (56%) who say not recycling is “usually or always wrong.”

The same study found that 70% of Christian youth pastors have had at least one teen come to them for help in dealing with porn in the past 12 months. Most often, those kids were high school boys (92%) or middle school boys (57%).

With the easy access to pornography that technology has afforded, teens are immersed with overwhelming sexual stimuli, and it is having a negative impact on their sexual identity formation. The damage is considerable: (1) it destroys their view of the sacredness of sex; (2) it promotes viewing people as sexual objects, and (3) it promotes shame rather than their true spiritual identity.

If you are a pastor or youth pastor, here are four ways to make a positive difference in the lives of teens at your church.

First, get educated about the effects of porn. If you haven’t been tempted by porn, that’s great, but recognize that you are in the minority. Get the facts. Know what is happening within your church family. Porn is now central in American culture. A great resource to read is How Pornography Harms: What Today’s Teens, Young Adults, Parents, and Pastors Need to Know by John D. Foubert.

My book Pure Teens is a valuable, practical resource for every Christian teen about relationships and sex—and why it is such a big deal to God.

And if you are among the approximately one-third of pastors who struggle with porn, get help for yourself first. Then you can be a part of the solution and an authentic spiritual leader. Restoring Hearts Counseling offers intensives for pastors and their spouses.

Second, model accountability to your congregation. Many pastors haven fallen into sexual sin because they lack accountability. The wise pastor will have accountability in his life. The Scriptures teach, “Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted” (Galatians 6:1). Restoring responsibility and accountability is essential to the spiritual health of the church and its leaders.

Pastors can model accountability in their teaching, preaching, and daily life. We need to be honest about the battle to live out biblical sexual integrity in today’s world. Above all, we need to be modeling God’s great design for healthy relationships and sexuality. A. W. Tozer stated, “It will require a determined heart and more than a little courage to wrench ourselves loose from the grip of our times.”

Third, create a plan now to help teens and their families in crisis situations:

  • Provide a safe and secure place to open up about their crisis.
  • Offer the opportunity for them to express their fears, hurts, trauma, shame, or other overwhelming feelings and emotions. They can count on our representing God’s grace and help.
  • Personify non-judgmental validation of them and a commitment to do what is possible to assist.
  • Identify support or resources.

Fourth, connect your families with additional help. Create a list of trusted counselors in your area, or find a counselor on the American Association of Christian Counselors directory. You can also contact Restoring Hearts Counseling to schedule a Teen Intensive.

For information on costs or to schedule an intensive, call 719-644-5557.

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