So, how does this impact our youth ministry? Three things come to mind along with a little advice. First, we are not afraid to have these conversations with students. It is important that we create a space where conversations about sexual ethics can be held. We encourage students to ask questions, and for our families to feel comfortable talking about sex with their kids. We feel like the more open and honest we are about this topic, it helps students not see sex as something that is "bad" or can never talked about in church. My advice, don't be afraid to talk about sex.
The other way this impacts our youth ministry is that our students are surrounded by adults who are only a few years older than they are, and who may be sometimes struggling with sexual purity themselves. Most of our volunteers are single and in their twenties, and are open with their struggles. This helps our students see how to respond spiritually to the challenge. Many of our leaders have gotten engaged and walked with integrity during that season. It is a great example of living that honors God.
The third way this impacts our ministry is that our students get to see pain of bad sexual choices. We don't go around sharing private information, or point an accusing finger at someone who has sinned sexually, but we do see the results of their mistakes. Because of this we get to teach our students about grace, forgiveness, and transformation. God is all about extending love and healing to those who get hurt by bad sexual choices and this is a great life lesson that our students get to experience. When a student sins physically, they can know that the church is not there to cast the first stone, but that they can come with honesty and a humble heart to receive grace, healing and love.
This issue is not going away. Our openness in having a conversation around sexual ethics will only help move our youth ministries forward. My advice, engage in the conversation, live by example, and build a community that extends grace and healing around the topic of sex.