Friday, February 27, 2009

Premarital Sex among Christian/Churched Teens

Churched teens (those who regularly attend church/religious activities) can also succumb to premarital sex. This is the fact that all youth leaders and pastors must accept and contend with. Christian young people are not inoculated against societal pressure. They also experience the same temptations secular teenagers face. Both of them absorb the same erotic messages they receive from radio stations, TV shows, movies and adult/showbiz magazines/materials.

Some thoughts on what exacerbates the problem.

Churches may fail to provide an environment where teenagers can have a REAL encounter with Christ. Sometimes churches focus more on enhancing the party mood of youth ministry fellowship rather than concentrating their energies on ow to produce Christ-like young people . Youth ministry programs must FIRST and FOREMOST attack the heart of the issue—the problem of the heart. Evangelism and discipleship programs must be prioritized and incorporated into any youth ministry strategy.

Another dilemma is the weak involvement of the Church in educating the young people regarding responsible sexuality. Many church leaders still cling to the idea that sex education is the sole domain of parents (who do not also want to be given the burden of educating their children about the birds and the bees). The inevitable result: many teenagers receive thwarted information on the subject from the media and their peers. Hence, we should not be surprised if the members of our youth ministries would learn the MECHANICS of sex but would be totally ignorant of its depressing consequences.

Pastors and youth ministry leaders can only do so much. They cannot watch over the activities of their young members 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Hence, parents should assume the more pro-active role as guardians. Voluminous studies show that irresponsible parenting and dysfunctional families often produce teenagers who engage in premarital sex. Parents should communicate with youth pastors the issues which concern their children. Likewise, youth ministers must be always receptive to the idea that parents are partners and not as ministry nemeses.

We must also re-think the way we deliver the “Abstinence before marriage” message. Youth ministers should not only approach the issue from a mere “hormone-induced” perspective. We must also address the psychological, intellectual and emotional struggles of teenagers. Virginity pledges/commitments are not silver bullets. They must be complemented by a systematic program that would empower the young people pursue the battle for purity. Teach their minds (through objective seminars and studies about human sexuality and reproductive health). Touch their hearts (through the transforming Gospel of Christ—their best defense against PMS). Then, we can see transformed lives.

No comments: