A productive assessment and plan requires thoughtful selection of participants. Youth ministry leaders should consider inviting representatives including parents, youth, and pastoral team members as well as any specialists in the congregation like a social worker, health teacher, doctor, or nurse.
The meeting space should be set up with a round or rectangular table so that all participants have an equal presence in the conversation. Place a candle in the center of the table to be lit for the duration of the meeting.
Proverbs 1: 2-6 (NRSV)
For learning about wisdom and instruction,
for understanding words of insight,
for gaining instruction in wise dealing, righteousness, justice, and equity;
to teach shrewdness to the simple,
knowledge and prudence to the young—
let the wise also hear and gain in learning, and the discerning acquire skill.
This session will assist the youth ministry leaders, participants, and supporters to consider the ways that explicit, implicit, and null curriculum teach about aspects of sexuality so as to become more intentional about communicating equitable, healthy, and positive sexuality education grounded in faith values.
In this session, a youth ministry team will:
Facilitator can utilize one or more of the following faith-based resources to better understand and define sexuality, consider the importance of faith-based sexuality education, and explore a variety of sexuality education resources for ministry.
Ott, Kate. Sex + Faith: Talking to Your Child from Birth to Adolescence. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox, 2013.
A Time to Speak: Faith Communities and Sexuality Education, 3rd ed. Dr. Kate Ott and Rev. Debra Haffner, Religious Institute, 2012 http://religiousinstitute.org/timetospeak/
NOTE: Contains a full annotated bibliographical list of denomination based curriculum. The Religious Institute at http://www.religiousinstitute.org/resources provides organizational links to faith-based groups that work on sexuality education, abuse prevention, LGBT issues, and reproductive health.
United Church of Christ. Our Whole Lives. This is a series of sexuality education programs for six age groups: grades K–1, grades 4–6, grades 7–9, grades 10–12, young adults, and adults. There are materials for each age group including a leader’s guide, parent guides for K–1 and 4–6, as well as a supplementary series called Sexuality and Our Faith. http://www.ucc.org/justice/sexuality-education/our-whole-lives.html.
Gather (5 minutes)
PRAYER: Together, read the following scripture passage.
For learning about wisdom and instruction, for understanding words of insight, for gaining instruction in wise dealing, righteousness, justice, and equity; to teach shrewdness to the simple, knowledge and prudence to the young— let the wise also hear and gain in learning, and the discerning acquire skill.
GREETINGS: Invite participants to share their name and role on the ministry assessment team (e.g. student leader, specialist from the congregation, parent, etc) and a word or phrase from the scripture reading that resonates with them.
INTRODUCTION: Briefly thank the participants for committing their time and energy to assist the youth ministry program. Remind them that you have gathered the group to assess the various ways the youth ministry program addresses a wide variety of sexuality aspects. If you have not in the past discussed sexuality issues, consider sharing a holistic definition of sexuality which can be found in any of the additional recommended resources. It is important to name that sexuality is more than behaviors or sexual orientation, as many of the assessment topics will deal with issues like gender, body image, sexual abuse prevention, and access to information. In your own words, express to the participants why you feel called to provide holistic sexuality education to the teens in your ministry.
Engage (30 minutes)
Activity 1: What Are We Already Doing?
Activity 2: Pair and Share
Reflect (20 minutes)
Activity 3: What Do Our Practices, Policies, and Programming teach?
Activity 4: What Could We Do?
Send Forth (5 minutes)
“May God be with your spirit. Grace be with you all.” (adapted from 2 Timothy 4: 22)
This resource includes supplementary materials:
Introduction for Leaders