By guest blogger, Shannon Bond.
Josh began attending church not long after he was born. For sixteen years, he has been a member of the same church. He has a close-knit group of friends, many of them members of that particular church. As a group, they went through AWANA together, started middle school and high school together, went on numerous youth trips and to many camps together, and sat through the “sex talk” many times since they started youth group together as seventh graders. Josh and his friends know the risks and potential consequences of sexual activity before marriage: sexually transmitted diseases, unwanted pregnancies, emotional pain, guilt, and a bad reputation, to name just a few. During a weekend event emphasizing abstinence, Josh pledged to wait until marriage to become sexually active. He understands the risks of sexual activity and the rewards of abstinence until marriage. Yet, he feels as though he is a dam that is about to break. The pressures — from his own sexual urges and drives, from a sex-saturated society, and from the attractive girls making advances at him — make the “wait until marriage” defense seem weak and powerless against the never-ending onslaught. Some of his peers offer masturbation as a solution, which he tries, only to have guilt flood over him. Others chide him for his vow of purity, saying, “Everyone is doing it. You are missing all of the fun.” At a party just before his seventeenth birthday, Josh has oral sex with a girl. “After all,” he says, “it is not really sex.” Now his pledge of abstinence seems worthless. After years of saying “no,” Josh’s compartmentalized and dualistic understanding of his sexuality has not helped him find the parts of his sexuality that he can say “yes” to. Consequently, he is finding it increasingly difficult to say “no.”
Although Josh is a fictitious character, his story, sadly, is true for many teenagers raised in the church. Despite the best efforts of youth workers and parents, Christian teens are sexually active. What are the church and the family to do? Giving up is not an option. Although teens attend church for any number of reasons, many of them attend because they seek direction for their lives. What direction does the church give teens concerning their sexuality? Current approaches to teaching sexuality may need to be re-examined and re-focused in order to be more holistic.
The purpose of this blog series is to discuss how teens may develop as sexual beings without becoming sexually active. If this purpose is achieved, whether on Tim’s blog or in other circles of influence, the goal of such a discussion is to provide a framework from which youth workers and parents may teach and mentor teens so that they arrive at the marriage altar having understood and embraced their God-given sexuality while having practiced abstinence.
We’ll begin by defining sexuality. Next, we’ll give attention to the various components of sexuality, exposing lies distorting the perceptions and understandings of these components and replacing those lies with biblical truth and spiritually empowered application appropriate to teenagers. Finally, it will address whether an approach of this nature is realistic and applicable in both the church and family settings.
Shannon Bond is in his first year as the youth minister at First Baptist Church in Bangs, TX. He is married to the former Stephanie DeBoom of Copperas Cove, TX and has three children: Raegan (6-year-old daughter), Sydnie (4-year-old daughter), and Joey (2-year-old son). He is a student at Logsdon Seminary in Abilene, TX. Before becoming a youth minister, Shannon spent 13 years as a teacher and coach.
Posted on June 17, 2008