Encountering Sexuality as the Church
Does your church actively discuss the topic of sexuality? Or is it more likely to ignore the topic of sex?
Sy Rogers, world-renown Christian speaker and communicator from New Zealand brought a message of encouragement to Christian leaders on how to tackle the subject of healthy sexuality and responsible stewardship of our sexual desires in the Church.
Sy’s focus at the God, Sex and the Church leadership conference was on God’s redemptive nature and the responsibility humans are given. His first point was the need for Christians to create a redemptive attitude in the Church surrounding issues of sexuality.
“We want to convey to people that they are right to hope in the character and capability of a redemptive God”
Guilt Without Grace
According to Sy Rogers the number one complaint he has heard from people hurt by the Church was how ashamed and hopeless the Church made them feel about their sexuality, without pointing people to God’s redemptive advocacy. If we do not provide the voice of influence and clarity on God’s design for sexuality, the world wins by default.
Sy encouraged church leaders to talk more about sexuality, appropriately, from the pulpit: especially the redemption of it, with thoughtful scholarship, Biblical truths, and pointing to helpful resources for various kinds of struggles.
“The average church talks about sex for 20 minutes a year. And often times the topic is only relegated to talking to the youth group”
“Sexuality must be addressed from various perspectives too: wisdom, responsibility, community, theological clarity, and redemption. Our society is having a big conversation about sexuality. That should challenge and encourage us in leadership to provide appropriate guidance for our congregations. If we don’t, our culture’s opinion regarding these vitally important matters, will dominate by default,” said Sy.
Prepare Well for Questions
Sy also urged parents and youth group leaders to have thoughtful answers to kids’ questions on purity and appropriate boundaries.
“I believe that trying to answer in today’s climate ‘because the Bible says so,’ isn’t good enough, and it doesn’t serve intelligence. God isn’t afraid of critical thinking, He can stand up to scrutiny or questions on God’s Word. People need clarity,” said Sy.
Sy reminded conference attendees that we are all sexual beings, and God’s ultimate purpose is for all of us to operate as responsible stewards of our sexual feelings.
“By God’s divine design you are laced with hormones that will make you feel sexual from time to time. He doesn’t take it away, we have to learn to chorale it, bow down and obey, and grow up as stewards of mind and body. Many people are ashamed because they think ‘holy people shouldn’t feel sexual.’ And that is a lie,” said Sy.
The Most Important Issue
If the Church is laser-focused on God as the single most important issue, we will be asking the right questions about every other issue in our lives, especially about our sexuality.
“We’re all attracted to something, we all have sexual potential, we all have sexual desire, we all have hormones coursing through our veins, we all have emotional vulnerability, and we all have the capacity for attraction. So are you going to walk with God anyway? Are you going to be healthy as you grow in relation to God and others, with boundaries of appropriateness? Are you going to submit to God’s authority, not your sexuality, not your feelings?” Sy asked.
Attendees left the God, Sex and the Church leadership conference inspired by Sy’s depiction of God, and His redemption, especially in areas of sexuality:
“Sexuality is something that everyone can struggle with. God doesn’t take away the struggle, he takes away the guilt. Our job is to admit our struggle and submit to God. God gives us guidelines and grace, and he’s always there for us!”
“I believe Christians are looking for directions, because back at work, back at home, they are dealing with these sexual tensions, and they need some help from their pastors to have answers or perspectives. And we’re not doing that because we’re scared; but this (conference) helps us be more secure and have better answers to present it.”
-Pastor Jim Comfort, Faithbrook Church in Dayton, MN
“This discussion helped us to get a better idea and tips of how to love people and talk to people about sex and gender without coming from a judgmental aspect, but from loving care.”
-Taylor, youth pastor
“I learned it’s all about relationship with God, bringing the conversation back to how that relationship with God is the important thing. It’s not all of the other things that will pull us off of that. Unless the person struggling understands God’s great love and His good character, they’re never going to draw toward Him.”
-Renee, Substance Church member