Let’s Talk About Sex

So I just finished a three week series for parents on faith and sexuality at a local church. I had no clue how it would go, but I was surprisingly pleased with the response!

Let's Talk About Sex

There was a room full of people who were desperate to talk about sexuality in a way that was thoughtfully grounded in theology and Scripture and also honest about the realities of adolescent culture. It was so refreshing!

Looking back over the experience I thought I would share a few key takeaways…

Start with Our Own Stories

We started with the reality that each and every one of us had our own journey through adolescence, and that developing our own sexuality identity was (and is) full of missteps, regrets, moments of grace, and overall a humbling experience. The goal was to evoke empathy and a gentleness for kids today as we seek to accompany them into sexual maturity.

Our hope is that the Church might be one of the loud voices speaking hope and mercy into the lives of kids as they wrestle with what it means to both follow Jesus and grow into their sexuality, but sadly, the church is often the last voice to join the conversation.

Identity Is Given, Not Found

Kenda Dean talks about the work of individuation within adolescence as grounded in Christ and our resulting identity as rooted in the love of God. This is crucial to understanding identity, especially sexual identity.

It’s more important to think of oneself as a son or daughter adopted into the family of God (Galatians 4) than to define ourselves primarily by our sexual explorations, perceptions, failures, and/or experiences.

To put it simply, we are more than sexual people—while this is an important aspect of who we are, it is at the very least secondary to our identity as the beloved children of God.

Big Spongey Sponges

Approaching kids with compassion, and understanding that they are first to be seen as sons and daughters of the Father, we are free then to acknowledge that our teenagers are doing exactly what they should be doing… absorbing everything possible around them to make sense of the world! They are amazing at this, and it can be very exciting, but as these sponges soak up everything around them, we become aware that there are some voices, even loud ones, that tell lies.

Our hope is that the Church might be one of the loud voices speaking hope and mercy into the lives of kids as they wrestle with what it means to both follow Jesus and grow into their sexuality, but sadly, the church is often the last voice to join the conversation.

What if we weren’t silent though? What if the Church became a well know place to compassionately and patiently walk with families as they loved their kids through this time of life?

Scary Stuff

This is scary stuff, and to acknowledge this fear and our insecurities around this topic is a must. Most people in the room never had any sort of helpful talk about sex with a loving adult. Over these last few weeks we discussed pornography, shame, masturbation, sexual orientation, and many other questions, fears, and ambiguities related to faith and sexuality.

If you do something similar, and open the door to these questions, let me encourage you in this way—be gentle with your folks. Don’t pretend to have all the answers, just start there—“I don’t know all the answers!”—and invite a more patient, compassionate, and thoughtful dialogue.

What if that was the win?

What if the goal wasn’t to create kids that fit some sort mold of what we think Christian sexuality looks like? What if the goal was to create a community that lovingly and patiently seeks to follow Jesus in this aspect of life together?

These last three weeks have been a real gift to me. I know we didn’t answer every question—not even close. But we did love each other well, admit our need for help, and wrestle with how to best love, serve, and lead the kids God has entrusted to us.

May God help us love kids well in this way.


About the Author: Justin Forbes

Justin Forbes - Kindred Youth MinistryJustin serves as the director of the Youth Ministry program at Flagler College in St. Augustine, FL and has been involved in youth ministry since 1998. He’s also a co-founder of Kindred Youth Ministry. His passion is teaching and mentoring youth ministers. Click here to read more about Justin.

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