Let’s Talk About The Purity Talk- Johnathan Baldwin
We’ve all done it. Maybe we were told by a superior to talk about it. Perhaps it’s because we’re passionate about it. If you are in youth ministry and haven’t given some form of the purity/sex talk, are you really in youth ministry?
We have all read far too many blogs that criticize the Church for how it taught purity to Millennials (most current youth workers). Did the Church teach us purity growing up? Yeah. Was it the best way they could have done it? Probably not. Can we take what we learned as teenagers ourselves and improve upon the model that was shown to us? Absolutely.
If we are going to teach our students about their value and worth and all the reasons why they should “stay pure,” then I think it’s best to identify what our end goal is. If the end goal is to prevent, at all costs, students from having sex before marriage, then unload the dump truck of stats and analogies showing them why sex before marriage is harmful. If our end goal is much more than that, guiding our students to a life of purity no matter their past or their current situation, then we have some rethinking to do.
Our True Goal: Guide a generation of students to a life of purity dedicated to Jesus.
In order to accomplish this goal, it is vitally important to understand this:
Purity isn’t about what you do or don’t do, it’s about the state of your heart.
For far too long, students (probably many of us included) have asked questions like, “How far is too far?” or “Is it a sin if I do _______ with my boyfriend or girlfriend?” In theory, these aren’t bad questions to ask. I’m sure in God’s incomprehensible mind there is some line in which we cross over from not sinning to sinning. Frankly though, that isn’t important or relevant because of the enormity of God’s grace.
The problem with asking these questions lies in the state of the heart. When we ask questions about how close to the line we can get without actually sinning, our heart isn’t in the right spot. We must lead our students from this mindset to a life in which they strive daily to honor God with their actions.
Guiding students to purity isn’t a once-a-year series or retreat when we make them sign a covenant and tell them how sinful it is to have sex before they are married.
We can’t logically expect them to avoid sex from puberty to marriage and magically walk into a healthy sexual relationship with their spouse as soon as they say “I do.” It is our job to shepherd them in all areas of purity, sexuality included. This is a both/and conversation. We can’t just do one or the other. Sitting students in a room every February and condemning sex will, at best, keep them from having sex before they are married.
Let’s start a new trend, friends. Let us boldly and powerfully teach purity in all areas of life.
About The Author: Johnathan Baldwin
Johnathan is a youth pastor at Central Ministries who loves his wife, Sara, his 3 boys, youth ministry, sports, summertime, great coffee (depending on the situation, not so great coffee works in a pinch), his dog (Marcie), and, as of lately, a good book. Over the past couple years, Johnathan has felt a growing passion for guiding and empowering leaders. He believes that if we call people to greatness, they will achieve greatness.