In this episode, Dr. John addresses the need for the church to speak to teens about sexuality as a part of a teen’s discipleship and within the context of the gospel narrative. You’ll also learn about 6 crucial ways the church can support parents in this effort.
A quote shared by Dr. John:
John Freeman with Harvest USA uttered these prophetic words:
I remembered talking to a church’s prayer team years earlier. They had been praying with people for more than ten years at a weekly intercessory healing prayer meeting. One leader said to me, “John, we’ve prayed with people about marriage issues, problems with children, job losses, interpersonal conflicts, crises of faith, and other personal problems, but never has someone come for prayer about anything of a sexual nature. Not once.”
I was shocked. The numbers of those struggling with pornography, same-sex attractions, and sexual addictions are increasing daily. Add in family members affected and impacted by someone they love dealing with sexual brokenness, and it is clear this is a huge problem in the church today.
I responded to this leader’s comment by saying, “You know, I’d be asking, why not? I’d be asking, how has our church communicated that it’s OK to talk about everything else, but not about ‘that?’ Somehow, you’ve conveyed this isn’t a safe place to talk about sex and sexual issues. And in doing that, you’ve become part of a collusion of silence.”
Several years ago when our Board began thinking about expanding our mission focus at Harvest USA, one that would focus on educating and equipping the church, I remember what Board member, Steve Brown, said: “What Harvest USA does is the work of the church, work which the church has neglected out of fear and shame, out of not knowing what to do. We’ve got to help the church recapture the calling to rescue and redeem those struggling with sexual sin in the church. But, if we do this, it will be the most difficult thing that we’ve done.”
What we talked about
Teaching sexual discipleship to our teens in a sex-saturated society seems like not just a difficult task, but maybe an overwhelming one. What are some of the challenges that we must face when it comes to sexual discipleship?
- We are dealing with the underpinnings of the sexual revolution in the 1960s. It promoted the notions of personal choice and unrestrained freedom of sexual expression.
- Related, there is the idea that we must rid ourselves of absolute truth or the fixed idea of right and wrong. CS Lewis, “We all want progress, but if you’re on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road…”
- Think about all the influences impacting teens today: 1) entertainment, 2) educational systems, 3) advertising, 4) social media, 5) pornography, etc. Step up our game…
- The danger is to feel overwhelmed and not do anything. “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not” (Galatians 6:9).
What’s one of the first things the church needs to do in this area?
- We need to establish that there is a credible biblical message.
- Todd Wilson wrote Mere Sexuality and he calls for the rediscovery of the Christian vision for sexuality in the Bible
- Our approach must be multi-faceted: Preaching, Teaching, Workshops, Specialized Support Groups, Books and resources, and a Planned and Coordinated Approach
Six key elements of teaching and discipling our teens
- First, teach teens about sex from the Scripture starting with the Old Testament (how the first miracle, Imago Dei, monotheism, and monogamy are tied together). Consider Jim Burns’ idea of committing our lives to sexual purity, including honoring God with our bodies, renewing our minds for the good, turning our eyes away from worthless things, and guarding our heart above all else. Then we continue to teach from the New Testament (Jesus is the missing person, we are all broken sexually, and how Jesus models radical respect for women).
- Second, we must teach them the view of holy sexuality
- Third, we must teach them that they are opposed.
- Fourth, we must teach them their true spiritual identity.
- Fifth, equip teens to capitalize on the positives of technology.
- Sixth, the mission of the church is to bring healing to the sexually broken.
But is the church ready for this approach now? What does the church need to start doing?
The church will need to implement the four streams written about by John Eldredge in Waking the Dead, including:
- Stream of Walking with God
- Stream of Receiving God’s Intimate Counsel & Offering godly Counsel to others in God’s timing
- Stream of Healing, Deep Restoration and Deliverance
- Stream of Spiritual Warfare
Call to Action:
Parents, pray that God will expand your influence with your children.
Speak to your pastor and church leaders to address the key sexual issues of this generation.