How to Talk to Your Church About Sex

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How to Talk to Your Church About Sex

A new study about adul­tery and our cul­tural under­stand­ing of it was released by Deseret News. It sur­veyed the nor­mal pop­u­la­tion and com­pared it to con­ser­v­a­tive evan­gel­i­cals and other reli­gious groups.

How to Talk to Your Church About SexFor some, like The Gospel Coali­tion, the find­ings were alarm­ing. Their head­line, “Sur­vey Reveals Many Evan­gel­i­cals Are Con­fused About Adul­tery,” spoke to their con­cern regard­ing the sur­vey results. They quoted results from the sur­vey regard­ing the fol­low­ing ques­tion, “How often, if ever, would you say the fol­low­ing activ­i­ties would be cheat­ing on a spouse or part­ner?

  • Hav­ing reg­u­lar sex­ual rela­tions with some­one other than your part­ner (82 percent)
  • Hav­ing a one-​night stand with some­one other than your part­ner (77 percent)
  • Roman­ti­cally kiss­ing some­one other than your part­ner (78 percent)
  • Send­ing sex­u­ally explicit mes­sages to some­one other than your part­ner (75 percent)
  • Being emo­tion­ally involved with some­one besides your part­ner (67 percent)

The Gospel Coali­tion arti­cle argued sev­eral things were to blame for the break­down of moral­ity in evan­gel­i­cal cul­ture. Edu­ca­tion within the churches did not work, church mem­bers were not hear­ing the mes­sage, church lead­ers were not doing their part to pur­vey the proper mes­sage nor were many lead­ers liv­ing what they preached.

The GC arti­cle did a good job of cov­er­ing the ini­tial bases, but I wanted to dig deeper on some things churches could do to man­age some of these short­falls to address adul­tery and sex­ual sin in the church.

1. Church lead­ers may not have adjusted the impact of Matthew 5:2728 to the chang­ing social environment.

When Jesus said that to look upon a per­son with lust­ful intent is to com­mit adul­tery, he meant it. The atti­tude of the heart dic­tates our actions. I’m not say­ing that we change scrip­ture. But we do need to exam­ine the text in light of how cul­ture is chang­ing and let peo­ple know how Jesus’ words apply to sex­ting, fol­low­ing your ex on Face­book, and hav­ing a dat­ing pro­file on Tin­der. They even asked whether women were more sen­si­tive to these issues. (The Deseret study had ques­tions about each of these topics.)

I’ve blogged about many of these top­ics and get asked about them on a reg­u­lar basis. There’s a good chance that peo­ple in your church have a ques­tion about many of these issues as well. Hav­ing a dis­cus­sion about these top­ics from a scrip­tural basis would be a big help to peo­ple in your church.

2. Has sex edu­ca­tion failed in our churches? Or is it some­thing else?

The Gospel Coali­tion arti­cle sug­gested that sex edu­ca­tion has failed in our church. It’s very pos­si­ble that it never took place in many churches. Or, it may be that the church lead­er­ship didn’t feel that it was a topic that needed to be dis­cussed within the four walls of the sanc­tu­ary. But sex is holy and can and needs to be addressed. God talks about it and so should we. It can be done prop­erly and in the right way.

It could also be that lead­ers may have their own prob­lem with moral ambi­gu­ity. I’ve had con­ver­sa­tions with many pas­tors who are strug­gling with sex­ual sin. They may feel they are the last per­son who should be talk­ing to a con­gre­ga­tion about sex­ual issues. If either of these is the case, feel free to get out­side help and bring in a guest speaker or group who can talk to your church about these impor­tant issues.

3. Shep­herds need to be clear and unwa­ver­ing on these topics.

Pas­tors and church lead­ers must stand together on mes­sage in an age of ever chang­ing media. Social media will change at a moments notice, but the truth of God does not change. Peo­ple are look­ing for answers from God’s Word and want to know where to find them. Lead­ers need to show peo­ple that these issues have answers in the words of Christ.

We speak to fallen lead­ers and peo­ple on a weekly basis and we want to pre­vent that from hap­pen­ing. Don’t let it hap­pen to any­one in your church. Strengthen those who may be weak and look­ing for answers. Be open and hon­est about the world and the sit­u­a­tion. Learn what you can and don’t be afraid to ask for help.

For a lot of lead­ers, this is over­whelm­ing. There are denom­i­na­tional sup­ports for many churches. If you’re non-​denominational, there are a lot of good resources. Fallen Pas­tor Min­istries pro­vides speak­ers for you to talk to your church about pre­vent­ing moral fail­ure and straight answers to tough top­ics. Please feel free to con­tact us.

Regard­less of where you are, know that there are peo­ple ready to help you in what­ever sit­u­a­tion you’re in. There is always help for God’s people.

_​_​_​_​_​_​_​_​_​_​_​_​_​_​_​_​_​_​

Ray Car­roll is the author of “Fallen Pas­tor: Find­ing Restora­tion in a Bro­ken World,” which answers many of the ques­tions I get asked on a weekly basis.

If you are a fallen pas­tor who needs to talk or you are some­one who has been affected by a fallen pas­tor and would like to con­tact me pri­vately, please click here. You are the main rea­son this min­istry exists. I’m here to help you.

If you are a church, men’s group, asso­ci­a­tion, con­fer­ence, or news out­let and would like more infor­ma­tion about this min­istry, please click here.

A new study about adultery and our cultural understanding of it was released by Deseret News. It surveyed the normal population and compared it to conservative evangelicals and other religious groups.

How to Talk to Your Church About SexFor some, like The Gospel Coalition, the findings were alarming. Their headline, “Survey Reveals Many Evangelicals Are Confused About Adultery,” spoke to their concern regarding the survey results. They quoted results from the survey regarding the following question, “How often, if ever, would you say the following activities would be cheating on a spouse or partner?

  • Having regular sexual relations with someone other than your partner (82 percent)
  • Having a one-night stand with someone other than your partner (77 percent)
  • Romantically kissing someone other than your partner (78 percent)
  • Sending sexually explicit messages to someone other than your partner (75 percent)
  • Being emotionally involved with someone besides your partner (67 percent)

The Gospel Coalition article argued several things were to blame for the breakdown of morality in evangelical culture. Education within the churches did not work, church members were not hearing the message, church leaders were not doing their part to purvey the proper message nor were many leaders living what they preached.

The GC article did a good job of covering the initial bases, but I wanted to dig deeper on some things churches could do to manage some of these shortfalls to address adultery and sexual sin in the church.

1. Church leaders may not have adjusted the impact of Matthew 5:27-28 to the changing social environment.

When Jesus said that to look upon a person with lustful intent is to commit adultery, he meant it. The attitude of the heart dictates our actions. I’m not saying that we change scripture. But we do need to examine the text in light of how culture is changing and let people know how Jesus’ words apply to sexting, following your ex on Facebook, and having a dating profile on Tinder. They even asked whether women were more sensitive to these issues. (The Deseret study had questions about each of these topics.)

I’ve blogged about many of these topics and get asked about them on a regular basis. There’s a good chance that people in  your church have a question about many of these issues as well. Having a discussion about these topics from a scriptural basis would be a big help to people in your church.

2. Has sex education failed in our churches? Or is it something else?

The Gospel Coalition article suggested that sex education has failed in our church. It’s very possible that it never took place in many churches. Or, it may be that the church leadership didn’t feel that it was a topic that needed to be discussed within the four walls of the sanctuary. But sex is holy and can and needs to be addressed. God talks about it and so should we. It can be done properly and in the right way.

It could also be that leaders may have their own problem with moral ambiguity. I’ve had conversations with many pastors who are struggling with sexual sin. They may feel they are the last person who should be talking to a congregation about sexual issues. If either of these is the case, feel free to get outside help and bring in a guest speaker or group who can talk to your church about these important issues.

3. Shepherds need to be clear and unwavering on these topics.

Pastors and church leaders must stand together on message in an age of ever changing media. Social media will change at a moments notice, but the truth of God does not change. People are looking for answers from God’s Word and want to know where to find them. Leaders need to show people that these issues have answers in the words of Christ.

We speak to fallen leaders and people on a weekly basis and we want to prevent that from happening. Don’t let it happen to anyone in your church. Strengthen those who may be weak and looking for answers. Be open and honest about the world and the situation. Learn what you can and don’t be afraid to ask for help.

For a lot of leaders, this is overwhelming. There are denominational supports for many churches. If you’re non-denominational, there are a lot of good resources. Fallen Pastor Ministries provides speakers for you to talk to your church about preventing moral failure and straight answers to tough topics. Please feel free to contact us.

Regardless of where you are, know that there are people ready to help you in whatever situation you’re in. There is always help for God’s people.

__________________

Ray Carroll is the author of “Fallen Pastor: Finding Restoration in a Broken World,” which answers many of the questions I get asked on a weekly basis.

If you are a fallen pastor who needs to talk or you are someone who has been affected by a fallen pastor and would like to contact me privately, please click here. You are the main reason this ministry exists. I’m here to help you.

If you are a church, men’s group, association, conference, or news outlet and would like more information about this ministry, please click here.

 

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