Beginning in the New Year, we will be focusing on gender, dating, sex and marriage during our Alive nights with the youth (just grades 8-12 - iConnect will continue doing their own devotionals). It's SO important to talk to teens about these issues because if they don't hear about it at home or church, they will definitely be learning from culture! We want to equip our students with Biblical knowledge and understanding about God's design and plan for men and women, dating and relationships, sex and marriage. Starting in January and ending in June when we wrap up our school year events, we will be focusing on the major issues surrounding these themes.
Our schedule is as follows:
Jan. 10 - Gender Roles
How God created males and females differently but complimentary - what does that mean for how we view ourselves? Treat one another? Approach friendships, relationships, and marriage? How are worldly views of gender roles similar and different to what the Bible teaches?
Jan. 24 - Girls
What does the Bible say about women? What do godly women look like compared to what the world wants women to look like? What are the major issues young girls and women are facing today? How can females fight negative messages, and how can males help their sisters in Christ grow into godly women?
Feb. 7 - Guys
What does the Bible say about men? What do godly men look like compared to how men are portrayed in our culture and media? What are the major issues and temptations young men are facing today? How can boys grow into real men instead of adult children, and how can females help their brothers in Christ grow into godly men?
Feb. 28 - Girls and Guys Question & Answer Panel
This Alive night will not feature a message/small groups - instead, the youth leaders will form a panel and students will be able to submit questions about gender (based on what we addressed or didn't address in the previous weeks) for their leaders to answer.
April 4 - Dating
What does the Bible say about relationships, and how do we use that information to frame our views of healthy dating? Is it okay to date in high school? What is the purpose of dating? What does a healthy relationship look like? How can we build healthy dating habits that lead to successful marriages?
April 25 - Couple's Question & Answer Panel
We have two youth leader couples and many others are married or in the dating pool. Once again, our youth leaders will form a panel and students will be able to submit their dating questions for the leaders to answer.
May 9 - Marriage
Are teens too young to think about marriage, or can it be beneficial to make decisions anticipating marriage in the distant future? What does the Bible say about healthy marriages? How can we apply what we have learned about gender and dating to successful marriages?
May 23 - Sex & Boundaries
What is God's plan for sex? How does the Bible describe sex between man and wife? What about sex outside of marriage? How far is "too far" and how can students set and follow physical boundaries in relationships? We will talk about these issues with three groups in mind: teens who have not dated or had sexual contact, teens who have dated and had some sexual contact, and teens who have had sex and are now trying to follow God's plan for sex.
June 6 - Sex Question & Answer Panel
For our last Alive night, we will have one final youth leader panel. Students will be able to submit their questions about sex and physical boundaries for their leaders to answer. We plan to be honest and frank about God's plan for great sex - if students can't feel comfortable seeking out answers from "safe adults" such as parents or leaders, they will inevitably turn to another source - culture and media. We want them to know church is indeed a safe place to talk about sex without being lewd or disrespectful to one another.
Questions about any of these topics can be asked throughout the series - if you already have a question for a topic in May, you can ask now and we will hang on to it until then! Students can anonymously submit questions here.
We are in the initial planning stages of this series but some information I do know for sure: Daniel and I will be the main speakers for the sermons, question submission will always be anonymous, our leaders have already been trained in leader-student boundaries and appropriate ways to engage students in these topics while making sure they feel safe and comfortable talking about sensitive topics, and we will follow up these messages with small group time (small groups are age and gender based). If parents have any concerns about what we will be discussing, or would like to suggest topics/themes/questions before we write these messages, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org - I would love to hear from you! I am also hoping to schedule a Parenting Workshop that relates to this series in late February or early March.