The first weekend of October we hosted Deep Impact, an in-town retreat, for the youth group. Every year we have done this retreat differently, but this year seemed to work the best. Because we had one speaker, all the students were at the church for meals and the speaker sessions and then we split off by grade to different houses for the sleepovers.
The topic this year was God & Sex. As adult leaders, we thought this was an important topic because we live in a very sexualized world, yet it is a topic rarely talked about in the church, and when it is talked about, it is usually negative. Our goal for the weekend was to start the conversation on sex in a safe environment for the students to learn and ask questions and I think that was accomplished.
Our speaker was Jason Soucinek with Projectsix19. Jason speaks regularly in churches and schools on the topic of sex and everything that comes with that topic. At the very beginning he started by asking the students how the world views sex (just physical, it’s everywhere, do whatever you want, etc.) and then asked how the church views sex (don’t do it before marriage, it’s a bad thing, etc.). Then he went to the Bible and described how God created sex in Genesis. He created it as a very good and pleasurable act between a husband and wife. He showed how God created us sexual beings before we were sinful. He explained how God created sex to be pleasurable, for procreation, and for our protection. Sex is so much more than a physical act. It is emotional and spiritual as well. The Bible says “the two become one” showing how sex welds two people together in a strong and powerful way. If that bond is broken, there is a lot of hurt and pain from the ripping apart of two that were welded together, which is why marriage is the safest place to have sex.
I was really excited for this topic of conversation among my sophomore girls because we had this conversation last year, and while I explained a lot of the same things Jason did, I don’t think they saw where I was coming from. Because this weekend provided more time for explanation and conversation, it allowed my girls to really think about the importance of sex and how they want to live that out in their lives. At the end of the weekend we were discussing what we learned and what was most impactful and I was so encouraged that my girls where taking this topic seriously and I could start to see their views changing to be more like God’s view. I seriously wanted to run out of the church doing fist pumps I was so excited. As an adult leader, the most encouraging thing to witness is your students engaging and growing.
I think the biggest message that Jason communicated is that we should live a life in obedience to Christ. When we are seeking to be in a relationship with God and desiring to be obedient to Him, everything else will fall into place. Does that mean that waiting until marriage to have sex will be easy. Absolutely not! One thing he kept saying is that what surrounds the “no” is a greater “yes”. So while we might choose to say no to something, even for a period of time, the result is a greater yes in our obedience to God. This made me realize that while there are so many topics I could talk about with my girls, the most important thing is for them to seek obedience in their relationship with Christ. So right now I want to focus with them on being confident in their identity in Christ, in who God created them to be. I think when they discover how precious they are to God and refute some of the lies they believe about themselves, that they will have a greater desire to be in relationship with Him and then be obedient to Him.
Not only did we have great conversations, but we also had a ton of fun! In the evening we had a sleepover with our grade (8 girls, 3 boys, Chris and I) and it was a great bonding time as a group. After arriving at the house we got snacks and then debriefed the first speaker session. After debriefing we played games for 2 hours and we laughed so much. First we played Fish Bowl and then we played Therapist, which definitely got the most laughs. One round our problem was everyone with blue eyes flirted with the therapist and everyone with brown eyes was mean. That got some hilarious responses when the therapist asked if we liked his shirt haha. After the game, the boys went downstairs to sleep and us girls started She’s the Man, the best sleepover movie ever! This was also my secret weapon to get them to fall asleep or at least be quiet 🙂
Another great component of the weekend was a Saturday night seminar with the parents where Jason shared advice on how to raise your children in a sexualized world. While I am not a parent, there was a lot of great information that I want to store up for the future (aka I wrote it down so I won’t forget).
Overall this was an awesome weekend of learning, good conversation, and fun bonding time! And it makes me even more excited for the time I have with my girls this year.