“I have come that you may have life, and have it to the fullest.” -John 10:10
Youth today are vibrant and active, full of life. In every way imaginable, young people engage in the world around them, and doing their utmost to figure out what it means to live life to the fullest.
This also means that they are sexually curious.
This page is for every youth worker who has wondered about how to address the topic of sex and sexuality with young people. The YMI was pleased to welcome the Rev. Dr. Kate Ott to speak to our audience. Dr. Ott’s work on sex, sexuality, and technology is at the forefront of a critical conversation: how can we do more to accompany our youth, and provide a safe/brave space in which to talk about these things?
The following curriculum, videos and accompanying questions have been compiled into a resource, which we hope will be helpful for you in your ministry.
Resources for your youth ministry
Creating a Sexual Ethic – this lesson will help youth identify how faith values establish guidelines for a sexual ethic related to relationships with themselves and others.
- Reflective questions: How do you think about sexuality? How does the concept of relationality matter for your youth ministry today? What is the relationship between intimacy and spirituality? How do youth experience this? What role does sensuality play in our interactions in the world?
Cultivating Communication Skills
- How are your youth doing at communication these days? How in our programming are we helping to foster this? What gets in the way of honesty… both for our youth, and in our honesty with our young people?
How to Educate Parents about Technology and Sex
- When we encounter resistance, who are the “experts” we can bring into the conversation? How can we do this in a public way, and in a clear way, so that no misunderstandings can develop?
Helping Youth Become Ethicists
- How do we help youth think through difficult decisions, and how do we support them in that effort? What kind of sexual ethic can youth develop, and how is that a useful framework for their future development in this area? (NOTE: See the resource, “Creating a Sexual Ethic” above!) How is the opportunity of failure helpful for youth to experience while they are younger?
- How do we cultivate a spirit of belonging in our youth group? How might that then filter out into their sexual relationships? How do we instill a sense of self-worth within our young people, so that even when they fail, they can have a safe space to return to?
- Which values are embedded in the technology our young people are using? How might we help young people draw meaning or understanding from that fact?
Defining Terms: Pornography vs. Sexually Explicit Materials
- How do we help young people think through the material they see? What would it mean if the church is the source of appropriate online resources?
Healthy Online Sexual Community Engagement
- How can we thoughtfully engage with technology, in order to be expansive in our understanding of gender identity and expression of young people? Additionally, how can experiences of technology serve to affirm and build up the sexual identities of our young people?
Creating a Sexual Ethic in Christian Community
- What would this entire conversation look like if we realized that we already have implicit sexual ethics? If this is true, what is the role of the church in this conversation? How might we talk with youth today about the key concepts of power and agency in our communities? What might the Scriptures have to say in this conversation with young people?
- How can we address (and model) things like consent with younger children? How do we talk about the nature of relationships changing with elementary-aged children? What might that model for children, who will shortly become teenagers?