Last night at The Mix, the youth ministry I lead, was great! As I mentioned in yesterday's post, we were going to do a round the room OPEN discussion. Yes, an OPEN discussion with teenagers and WHATEVER they wanted to talk about concerning things of the faith. We've done these things before, but not in the way we did it last night.
Usually, the people would write down questions and I would answer them. YAAAWWWN! So this time, we let them ask the questions then we ALL got to talk about the question. It was really designed to see what were the ways they REALLY felt about an issue. All were encouraged not to give the "church" answer if that's not how they really felt.
Anyone wanna guess what the first question was about? C'mon, don't be bashful..What? What was that you just said? That's right - the first question was about SEX! So one guy (of course) asked the question and away we went. Lots of different views. Only a few of our people are "church" kids. Most of them have been recently introduced to the faith or they just began to explore the issues of faith for themselves. It was good to see their point of view. Of course, I brought it back to what the scripture says and even brought out some other tid bits about the benefits of waiting. I ACTUALLY said there are benefits of NOT waiting (had to be "real" or "authentic" or "transparent" or whatever you call it) but I cleaned it up with the benefits of waiting.
Then it got deeper. After covering a few other topics (friendship and music), someone brought up the issue of bi-sexuality and should that person change because people don't like it. Off they went. Again, some great insight on both sides. Did I mention that we currently have people in our YOUTH MINISTRY who are exploring and involved in bisexuality? Figured I share that. Good discussion. Again, we closed the discussion with the balanced, Biblical perspective of homosexuality (they aren't demon possessed!) and change - change in general. Everyone - even our biggest sceptics - said it was vey informative and they enjoyed it.
I like doing those type of sessions every few quarter because it gives the people who don't have an outlet to discuss these issues with their parents or other adults to have that outlet. If we don't think out, discuss and wrestle with some of these issues out loud for ourselves, we never really own the ideas. We just adopt what somebody else says until someone convences us of something different. Then we wonder why people leave the flock after they graduate high school. I encourage discussion and free thought in the issues of faith. I encourage people to ask questions and even challenge what they've been taught. If there is no challenge, how do we know what is a greater way? I encourage the challenge because I know scripture endures and defeats the challenge everytime!
Lastly, I know I lifted some eyebrows when I said we have people who engage in bisexuality. They have always known where we stand on the issue - its sin. Just like fornication is sin, or lying is sin or stealing is sin - its sin. No greater, no less. It STILL requires Jesus' shed blood for redemption. Our stance is clear on the activity, but our stance is also clear that we STILL love them. They keep coming back, we keep believing that they will partner with God and change for His glory. I also let it be known that the activity is not tolerated in our settings - but the same goes for hetero stuff, too. This isn't the place for you to go hunting for sex partners - straight, gay or bi. We love people, period. Our stance is to come as you are, and through God and God alone will you leave different.