Why Do One in Four Teen Girls Have an STD?

Last month we saw articles in every major newspaper about the new report that one in four teen girls has an STD. People were shocked. This week we’re asking for your response and I’ll be blogging about the subject all week.

I have to admit… I wasn’t surprised by the results of this report in the slightest. What has surprised me in this highly sexualized culture is that we haven’t seen this report sooner.

If you missed the report, here’s a snippet from U.S. News:

More than 3 million teenaged girls have at least one sexually transmitted disease (STD), a new government study suggests.

The most severely affected are African-American teens. In fact, 48 percent of African-American teenaged girls have an STD, compared with 20 percent of white teenaged girls.

“These numbers translate into 3.2 million young women nationwide who are infected with an STD,” Forhan said. “This means that far too many young women are at risk of the serious health effects of untreated STDs, including infertility and cervical cancer.”

These common STDs include human papillomavirus (HPV), chlamydia, herpes simplex virus and trichomoniasis, Forhan said.

So who is to blame?

It’s probably not too difficult to guess who Planned Parenthood is blaming:

Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said the study shows that “the national policy of promoting abstinence-only programs is a $1.5 billion failure, and teenage girls are paying the real price.” Huffington Post, 3/11/2008

Let’s hold off any analysis of abstinence education for a second… but we will be returning to the subject.

What about the influence of the media? Are they to blame? You might remember last month when I blogged  about lyrics and I noted that in 2007, The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) revealed that “teens who listened to lots of music with degrading sexual messages were almost twice as likely to start having intercourse…as teens who listened to little or no sexually degrading music.” (Houston Chronicle)

But is that where the blame rests? Just the media?

Where are parents?

Let me assure you. The BEST abstinence and or sex education of any kind is from parents who talk with their kids honestly about sex– an ongoing conversation. Sure, we, as a society can’t count on this communication to always happen at home, so we need to provide sex education in other venues as well. But do parents really see this ongoing communication in the home as their responsibility?

What best equips kids for these sexual decisions? What kind of sex education can prevent 1 in 4 girls from getting a disease that will probably have permanent consequences?

I ask you this, because this week in this blog we’ll be looking at the effectiveness of abstinence education, the influence of the media and other issues that contribute toward this “1 in 4” stat.

Comments?

About Jonathan McKee

president of The Source for Youth Ministry, is the author of over twenty books including the brand new If I Had a Parenting Do Over, 52 Ways to Connect with Your Smartphone Obsessed Kid; Sex Matters; The Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket; and youth ministry books like Ministry By Teenagers; Connect; and the 10-Minute Talks series. He has over 20 years youth ministry experience and speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers and parents on his websites, TheSource4YM.com and TheSource4Parents.com. You can follow Jonathan on his blog, getting a regular dose of youth culture and parenting help. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.
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35 Responses to Why Do One in Four Teen Girls Have an STD?

  1. Dave says:

    Jonathan,

    The numbers that you are putting out are shocking! I was not aware that the problem in America was SO big! 1 in 4…wow!

    To put that number in perspective, in Africa, between 1 in 4 and 2 in 4 young people have the HIV/AIDS virus (depending on which country one studies). The global community has labeled that a “pandemic.”

    Now, I know that many of the STD’s here are far from the severity of AIDS in Africa, but all of them are preventable. All of them!

    I think these numbers in America (offered by reputable sources you credit) need to shock us to the point of responsible, intentional, and effectual change.

    Thanks for keeping up with this kind of stuff for us. Love the site!

    Dave

  2. terry says:

    There is enough blame to go around. Affixing blame to any one source leaves many feeling off the hook, including parents, familes and churches. Lets focus on helping the kids make better choices all around and stop affixing blame.
    Unfortnately most teens feel invincable, “this will never happen to me,” is the usual thought process.
    Lets focus our selves and our minitsties on teaching how to live life to the fullest, as God intended for us to do. Help them to see how well God DOES indeed know them and love them.

  3. Joe says:

    I agree with Dave that these numbers are shocking, and we should be doing something – not to replace what parents should be doing in having this ongoing conversation with their kids, but at least speaking out about it. I am finding that most parents have talked with their kids at some time about sex, but never keep that conversation going. They think, “we’ve had the sex/abstinence talk so we’re good” and never keep that conversation going.
    I really want to talk to our middle school students about this kind of stuff. We’re doing a guys/girls night separate soon, but I’m kind of unprepared for something like this. As a single guy in my late 20’s I’ve never really given the “sex” teaching to students. I know there was a list yesterday of resources, but any further suggestions as to where to start? It’s only one night at youth group, so what should I focus on most?
    Joe

  4. pilgrim says:

    The blame ultimately goes to our sin nature, but we’d be fools to not see there is a triumvirate involved with influencing our students: the world, the flesh, and the devil. Satan’s strategy is to use the things in this world to entice our flesh, and our kids are inundated with the world at every turn. I disagree with ‘terry’ who said we should just teach about “how to live life to the fullest”. The Bible is full of warnings and risks and consequences and Jesus was constantly telling people to go and sin no more, to leave their life of sin, to stop sinning or something worse may happen. In our opportunities to speak into students’ lives, there should be balanced discipleship where we are indeed, ‘teaching, correcting, rebuking, and training in righteousness, so the man (or woman) of God may be throroughly equipped’.
    This stat should be a healthy wakeup call for parents and pastors especially to take our jobs more seriously! I don’t think we need to have a knee-jerk reaction where we need to have sex-ed seminars every week for youth group, but we certainly need to grow students in discipleship and the Word.
    We are shocked by this stat, but I bet our kids won’t be!

  5. Thanks Terry for that reminder about blame… allow me clarify a little about blame. I don’t want to simply find someone to point the finger at. I just want to be aware of the causes of this tragedy and see if we can be pro-active about equipping our kids to discern in this area.

  6. Mary says:

    These stats reveal the count of girls, but how many boys are affected as well? As a parent of 3 college aged sons, my husband and I regularly talk to them even now about how important to keep themselves for their future spouse alone. As far as we know and believe, they are listening.

  7. Chuck Lauver says:

    Being a youth pastor for 16 years and a Dad of four teenagers (3 are girls), sex is a topic that is openly discussed in our home and in our ministry. I find it interesting that the church and most christian familes accept the fact the culture is going to be extremely open about sex, eventhough it perverts the purpose and the true beauty of sex. Yet, we shy away from open discussion eventhough we know the Creator of sex and His faultless, guiltless and diseaseless plan for great sex-MARRIAGE.
    I belive that we has youth pastors and church leaders need to give permission to our parents to openly share about sex and how it’s beauty, mystery and pleasure is so worth waiting for. If we together with parents can convince our students that there is not a “hotter” turn on then knowing that the person who you have comitted your life too is completley yours and that one of God’s most beautiful gifts to His children is sex.

  8. Carlos says:

    I belive that we are all shock about this statistic. America is even shock, so shock that they have had Talk Shows talking about this statistic. There is a number of reasons why this is happening. We have music singing about sex, popular tv shows about sex, and new movies that are getting awarded for sex content. Schools are wanting to give out condoms so the STD problem will stop. They are just promoting sex. Peopls want to blame the church for not teaching or making the kids accountable for there actions. the problem starts at home. I have two young boys that Me and my wife talk to them about sex and we continue to talk to them about it. The parents need to be open about it. They need to start at a young age and keep talking to them about it. Progrmas are great, sermons are great, but parents need to talk to the kids out of love and teach them about sex and the consequences.

  9. Randi says:

    My husband and I are youth pastors and we have heard our kids discussing sex more and more frequently since we started at this youth group. I don’t know if it’s because they are more comfortable with us now that they will talk about things like that or if it’s because it’s something that’s coming up in their daily lives. Either way, we are taking this opportunity to have the “Sex Talk” before the summer begins and we start losing kids to baseball practice, summer vacation, camps, etc. It’s a terrible statistic, and the most horrifying part is that I have some girls in my youth group that would probably do just about anything for a boy that gave them the right attention. At least for girls, a lot of it comes down to self-esteem, and although they might not admit it, I think that’s true of boys too sometimes.

    What can we do about it? Yes, we’re going to have the “Sex Talk” and tell them all about abstinence and how they shouldn’t have sex, but the reality of the situation is that if the statistics I’m reading are correct and 70% of teens DO have sex before they are 18, then at least 5 of the girls in my youth group are going to have sex before they are 18, and some of them might get STD’s or end up pregnant too.

    That in mind, this is my question: is it inappropriate to discuss using condoms or other such things at church? I’m torn because on the one hand, I definitely DO NOT want to go there and then have the youth think that we are saying “Hey, if you use a condom, that’s a free pass to go have sex” but at the same time, due to the world we are living in and the culture they are surrounded by, I also don’t want to only say “Never have sex, sex is for marriage, etc.” and then have them do it anyway and end up getting STD’s from it because they didn’t know anything else about it. Ideally we should count on parents to have these discussions with their children, but I can safely say that I know about half of my kids will NEVER hear ANYTHING either way from their parents. So what is a youth pastor to do?

  10. Randi… thanks for having the guts to ask that very tough question.

    We’ll see if people read this far down the comment chain to even see your question- but for those that do… whadaya think? Is it “condoning” sex to be honest and say, “Listen! God wants us to wait. But some of you are setting yourselves up for failure and putting yourselves in situations where you have sex. If you’re going to do that, use a condom and cut down your chances of an STD… understanding that even condom’s aren’t full proof.”

    Should we say that?

  11. Sandy says:

    The rise in STDs is very simply a result of more teens having unprotected sex. We have to address both sides of the coin – counseling kids against becoming sexually active and providing information about how to protect themselves and why it is important. Providing information about contraception is the easiest part. The hard part is to convince teens not to be sexually active. This is not a new problem. Even my mother’s generation struggled to maintain their virginity. Luckily for them, the got married right out of high school! Of course I am joking about recommending early marriage but my point is that it is natural biologically for teens to want to have sex. When it comes to talking to kids about sex, there is no substitutute for parents. But you have to talk with them, not at them. Keep the dialog open. Don’t make them feel horrible for their God-given biology but help them understand the importance of controlling their natural urges. Teach them that sex is a special gift from God for cementing the bond between married couples. Let them know that they are loved and valued and they don’t need to seek that validation elsewhere. I have seen many teens struggle with this and the ones who are most successful are those that have a fabulous relationship with the parent of the opposite sex. In our youth group, the leaders have a motto we live by. “Kids don’t care what you think until they think that you care.” Show kids that you love them and they will come to you with their struggles and every once in awhile, they may actually listen to what you have to say.

  12. Chuck Lauver says:

    Joe,

    One of the best object lessons I have used in teaching about sex is what I call the “Dirty Toothbrush” It works for both guys and girls;sr. high and middle school. Here is the set-up get: two toothbrushes Keep one in the packaging it came in. Take the other one and rub it in the dirt, mud, whatever to make it look gross. Start off by getting volunteer to come up for a few questions. Ask them if they would brush their teeth with the “dirty toothbrush” If it is a middle school guy he will probably say yes if you offer him money, so don’t. When they say no, ask “Why?” Let them give you some answers. Then pull out the new one neatly wrapped in its packaging. Ask if they would brush with that one. Obviously they will say yes. Again ask “Why?” let them give a few answers. If they don’t say “beacuse it is pure” Help them out by sayinig something like “could we say it is pure” Use this a spring board to discuss the idea that God has created us to be sexually pure. I always ask the question “How would you like to present yourself to your future spouse on your wedding night; as a “dirty toothbrush” used by many or a pure toothbrush sealed only to be opened by your future spouse.
    You can’t forget about the student who knows that they are a “dirty toothbrush” so, what I do is I have a cup full of bleach and water and a zip lock bag. I say that if you know you have made a mistake sexually God offers a alterior option. While he can’t put you back into your original packaging He can clean you off (rinse toothbrush off in bleachwater)and seal you (put toothbrush in zip lock bag and seal it) until your wedding night. God LOVES you that much.
    There are a ton of scriptures you can use one I love to use is Philip. 2:14-15 (NIV)
    Do everything without complaining or arguing, [15] so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe

    I challenge my students to not complain or argue about not having sex, but rather rjoice that they can be “blameless and pure” and “shine like stars in the universe” bringing glory to God through their purity.

    hope this helps
    Chuck

  13. Sandy… I think you bring up a good issue about kids having to wait so long for sex nowdays.

    Check out this article (you’ll have to cut and paste it into your browser)…

    http://www.thesource4ym.com/archives/arc20020521.asp#TITLE1

  14. Trevor Dunham says:

    So the somewhat ironic and irritating side issue to this is the media’s (and organizations such as planned parenthood) tendency to work towards no longer using the term STD.

    Have you seen this? It is a movement toward calling a disease, instead, an infection. That’s right STI’s are becoming a bit of a buzz phrase in certain circles. Why?

    If we think through the idea of the difference between a “disease” and an “infection” in how we would generally define them we see that a disease is something you “get” or something you may actually have to take responsibility for. Whereas an “infection” is something that you “catch”…like a cold. When someone catches a cold we feel sorry for them because there wasn’t, necessarily, anything they could have done to prevent it. It’s not your fault, these things just happen. So an “STI” is nothing to be ashamed of. There was nothing you could have done to stop it.

    Is this what we are telling promicous teens and twenty somethings? Not directly. But certainly indirectly…and I suppose we could find examples of pretty direct times as well. It is scary and sad…and I have two daughters. Yikes.

    P.S. Am I ever glad God is in control!!

  15. Chuck Lauver says:

    I think we need to talk about condom use. However, only from the standpoint of their unaffectiveness. There are tons of stats out thoere on this topic. I beleive that Pam Stenzel’s ministry and Josh McDowell’s ministry are great resources to find these stats.

  16. Chuck…

    The one thing I’d really be careful of with that analogy is the fact that we need to be mindful of the fact that many in our audience might have already failed. So picture a girl who is checking out our church for the first time, sitting with her friend. She’s sexually active- after all- her mom has told her, “be safe.” Her boyfriend has put on the pressure. School and the media has taught her well. “You can do it, just be safe.”

    So then she goes to church.

    “You’re a dirty, nasty toothbrush!”

    Hmmmmmmm.

    I’m not trying to rip on you Chuck… we actually had some similar discussion starters on our “OPENERS” page (on our topical curriculum page). But we try to include some verbage that has a little more “grace” to it.

    Here me clearly. I’m not saying water down the Gospel. I’m just saying that we need to be sure to communicate God’s grace for past failures JUST as clearly (if not foremost).

    Here’s an example where I think the verbage is pretty good- it includes God’s grace: (you’ll have to cut and paste this address in your browser to see it)

    http://www.thesource4ym.com/outreach/topic.asp?ID=174

  17. pilgrim says:

    Jonathan,
    It’s not only condoning, but capitulating to the lies of the culture that helped get us here! Would we tell teens that because they are already going to drink alcohol, they should choose a designated driver to cut down their chances of a DUI?
    Throwing a bandaid on the symptom doesn’t really deal with the problem. The problem is not STD’s, the problem is lust, craving for intimacy, pleasure, fulfillment, and affection from anyone who will give it to us.
    We should meet kids where they are at and address the issues (maybe even candidly, at a guys/girls separate talk) but give them hope that people CAN enjoy abstinence, and succeed!

  18. Karen says:

    The article was quick to blame Abstinence Ed. with NO evidence as to what kind of sex ed. the girls in the study had actually received. But, within the AP article was the comment “Only about half of the girls in the study acknowledged having sex. Some teens define sex as only intercourse, yet other types of intimate behavior including oral sex can spread some diseases.” The concept that not all sex is sex is ONLY taught in “comprehensive” sex education. AND, sadly, if those girls had used the protection as advocated by PP, they would STILL have contracted HPV since condoms don’t prevent transmission of that virus (its passed through skin contact). For anyone to suggest that teen girls would not be infected at this rate if they were “using protection” is an absolute and unvarnished lie.

  19. Pilgrim…

    I just want to jump to Randi’s defense for a second. I think she asked a very good question. And make sure you read what I wrote very carefully. I teach abstinence. I teach that it’s not only God’s way, but it’s the best way. But many aren’t teaching it very effectively. As a matter of fact… the world is making fun of us.

    New York Times just pointed this out: “…those who took virginity pledges preserved their technical virginity about 18 months longer than teenagers who didn’t pledge, yet they were six times more likely to engage in oral sex than virgins who hadn’t taken a pledge. They were also much less likely to use condoms during their first sexual experience or to be tested for sexually transmitted diseases.”

    Fact: Kids who have taken abstinence pledges tend to be more in danger of teen pregnancy than those who haven’t.

    I’m simply asking… how can we equip our kids not to fail? And people are asking a good question: if a kid listens to the abstinence message and says, “Nope, I’m gonna have sex.” Should we say… “Well then don’t buy a condom because that would just be admitting to the fact that you’re going to do it!”???

  20. Chuck Lauver says:

    Jonathan,

    Thanks for the input. When I have used this analogy I have taken great lengths to make sure I communicate the love and grace of God s far exceeds any sin we have committed sexual or otherwise. That is why I specifically have the cleaning and resealing of the dirty toothbrush in that message.

  21. Me'gan says:

    my comment is to those of u who are iffy about the subject and have considered pre marital sex don’t its worth it I’m 22 and have never dated much less had sex I am saving myself for the man God has instore for me and trust me the benefit is amazing ma bey hard but well worth it

  22. Todd says:

    Sorry Jonathan, I agree with pilgrim. The Bible is so clear on this and honestly I get sick to my stomach when I see churches and pastors begin to compromise BIBLICAL STANDARDS for cultural opinions.

    There is just no place for it. Why stop at sex and drinking, what about cheating, drugs, murder…remember when sin was sin???

  23. pilgrim says:

    The results of this survey or of other studies on abstinence doesn’t change the truth of our message, it just confirms it! If we found out tomorrow that abstinence teaching has completely failed and our kids are having MORE sex than if we just didn’t say anything about sex, would we tiptoe around this issue?
    The fact that ‘abstinence teaching’ fixes one hole in the dam but exposes another is confirmation that we are fighting a serious battle, one that needs truth from every angle.

    I agree with you Jonathan that many aren’t teaching abstinence effectively, but does that mean we make the jump and start teaching how to put on condoms and where to get abortions in town?

    If students reject what we are sharing with them–which will always happened and even happened with Jesus–then would giving them extrabiblical advice really be well received?

    Jesus always met the issue head on and then exposed a deeper spiritual need. We should answer the questions our kids are seeking with a deeper answer then just, “Here’s a Trojan”.

  24. Randi says:

    I just want throw this out there to defend myself and my youth ministry.

    Firstly, my husband and I do not and have not looked at our kids and said “Here’s a Trojan.” Nor am I saying that in any we would stand up at the pulpit with a banana and a condom in hand to teach them how it all works. If my comment was interpreted as that, then I apologize because that is not what I’m trying to represent here at all.

    I was just simply curious about whether or not at any time during our discussion of abstinence (which is ultimately what our “Sex Talk” consists of), would it be appropriate to emphasize the facts about being safe. I’m not saying that I even WANT to stand up there and talk about condoms or sex or any of it, because to be honest, if it weren’t such a prevalent issue in my youths lives, I would rather avoid the subject as a whole because I think it makes ME more uncomfortable than it makes them.

    However, seeing the home lives of some of my students, it’s obvious that parenting in our society has gone down the tubes, and society as a whole is counting on other institutions (schools and churches) to semi-parent their children for them. That said, knowing that with SOME of my kids, I am not only their youth pastor, but also to some degree the only voice of right & wrong that they have, the only person who is looking out for their well-being at all, the only semi-parental figure that they have…do I totally ignore all of what else is out there?

    You don’t have to tell me twice that Jesus always has been and always will be the answer, nor do you have to tell me that abstinence is the ABSOLUTELY BEST route a teenager can go – particularly because all they think about is the physical and not so much the emotional/spiritual battle that comes along with it. But I love these kids like they were my own, because to some of them, my husband and I really ARE the only parental figures that they have, we really ARE the only people that they can have these discussions with, and as much as I pray and hope and wish and WANT them to serve God with their WHOLE lives and their WHOLE bodies, it brings tears to my eyes knowing that won’t always be the case for each one of them.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is that I asked that question out of some weird part of my heart where I feel parentally responsible for some of these kids. I am not trying to start some revolutionary sex ed course, nor am I trying to jump start teaching on how to live like the world if you choose not to live like Jesus. I just love my youth kids and in agreeing with Jonathan’s comment, I’d like to speak it all out with as much grace as possible.

  25. pilgrim says:

    Randi,
    I don’t think your youth ministry needs any defending! It’s obvious you and your husband care about your students and just want to reach them by any means necessary.
    Just remember that like Jesus, some will RECEIVE the message, and some will REJECT it. Our job is simply to be faithful to REPEAT it, with love and truth, no matter what the culture throws at us!

  26. briana says:

    I truly believe our focus as the body of Christ is off. The truth is, whether or not we have sex before marriage, we are still impure and in desperate need of a Savior. In youth groups especially, programs are so often built around making the kids “better Christians” or producing better fruit. Kids need to know that no matter how good they are, they need Jesus. When they are rooted and grounded in that understanding, they will ultimately begin to produce fruit resulting from a love relationship with Him. He is the producer of that fruit, not us. So, the question for Christian youth today should be “Do you know how much Jesus loves you?” Because when they know that, it shows.

  27. Randi, I encore Pilgrim.

    And I encourage you all to not be afraid to ask questions… some of you seem to be a little scared of the questions we’re asking. There are the questions we are going to be asked by the world. And guess what? They will watch HOW we respond.

    Do you ever wonder what Jesus meant when he said to be as shrewd as snakes and innocent as doves?

  28. Randi says:

    Pilgrim,

    You are very correct! If I were to admit one of my biggest downfalls as a youth leader, I think that this is the most difficult part of youth ministry for me – to love the kids SO much and to know that showing them Jesus is showing them a life that can be lived much more abundantly than the life of the world – and then to watch some of them turn away from it.

    It’s certainly disheartening to see them put effort into lives that are empty without the love of Jesus Christ – BUT – we have promises from God that His word will not return void, so I just have to believe that one way or another, they have heard the Truth and the seed has been planted, whether or not I see the growth of it here and now.

    Thanks for your input! I truly value it!

  29. Nick says:

    This question is hard and easy at the same time. There are many things and people we could blame, from: Parents who don’t talk to there kids, TV, Music, Inter net, ect…
    You can ever throw in the church! I don’t believer most church take on this issue like the should. They might talk about it once or twice a year but is that good enought when the teens hear and see strong sexual stuff every day.
    Here is the hard part, for me to accept as a youth pastor and a parent, I can talk to the teens every day about sex, tell them why it is so importent to weight for you mate, and all the bad things as well, but when they leave the youth room or my house, they have to make the right choice and they know what that choice is but they it is up to them to make the right choice.
    All the can do as a youth pastor and parent is educate and pray after that it is up to them.

  30. Lindsey says:

    If you look at Deuteronomy 24, there are instructions on how to deal with divorce properly. In fact, it states, “If a man marries a woman who becomes displeasing to him because he finds something indecent about her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce, gives it to her and sends her from his house, and if after she leaves his house she becomes the wife of another man, and her second husband dislikes her and writes her a certificate of divorce, gives it to her and sends her from his house, or if he dies, then her first husband, who divorced her, is not allowed to marry her again after she has been defiled. That would be detestable in the eyes of the LORD.”

    So it would displease God if the first man married his ex-wife after she divorced her second husband. Yet Micah 2:16 states, “”I hate divorce,” says the LORD God of Israel.” God hates divorce, yet gives instructions on how to handle it in a way that would not make the Israelites detestable in His eyes. Could it be because He knew that they were going to seek divorce anyway, and He wanted to make sure they would do so in the the way that would offend Him the least?

    I suppose you can see where I’m going with this. I have taught abstinence to my kids for the three years I’ve been at my church, and I’ve got three who are now pregnant. Two are in high school, and one is an eighth grader. We even went beyond the average “sex talk” in our group–two of the three were being individually discipled by mentors who openly talked about sex with them, and they STILL fell into temptation. Would it have been sinful to have talked about protection along with holiness? I used to think so, but it seems that if we follow that line of thinking, we might as well say that they deserve the STDs for not following God’s plan. What do you think?

  31. James Ball says:

    I think that because we work with youth our hearts cry out for them an we personally take responsibility for them, it’s only natural. However, we must remember that they are God’s children and we have been called to build relationships with them so as to preach God’s Word to them and mentor them into a loving relationship with our Saviour. I believe we should and must continue to teach them how God views sex and it’s place in marriage. It is only through a deep and meaningful relationship with Jesus Christ and through the power of the Holy Spirit that anyone, let alone our young people will be able to withstand the lure of sexual temptation.This is a subject and a conversation that should be discussed on a regular basis with the youth because our surrounding culture is bombarding them on a daily basis with images and ideas about sex that are so contrary to God’s will for their lives. If and when one of our kids fails to live up to God’s standard and ends up either pregnant or with an STD, our job is to love them and to guide them through the repercussions of their actions. I don’t mean to sound harsh but even these situations will be used of God to reach others to make choices that are pleasing to Him. Coincidentally enough, I just received a package to a teen abstinence program that looks quite interesting and am planning on using it to enhance our teaching. It is called the Silver Ring Thing. Check it out and see what you think. They are a series of conferences designed to reach youth with a biblically based abstinence program.

  32. pilgrim says:

    Lindsey,
    Jesus already dealt with this issue in Matthew 18, and quoted the exact verse you’re referring to! He said that command was given by Moses “because their hearts were hard, but it was not that way from the beginning”. Then Jesus gave the definitive answer for divorce.
    The Pharisees tried to reach back to the very same verse to excuse their position on divorce, but Jesus clarified God’s heart behind the command.

    Whether abstinence teaching is received and implemented or not (and whether stats show it as a success or failure) has nothing to do with whether or not it is true and if we should proclaim it.
    I’m afraid we’re at risk of throwing out Biblical truth because it doesn’t “work”.

    Your girls didn’t fall into temptation because abstinence is the wrong message. They rejected it because they wanted to have sex before marriage!

    That’s my whole point: if they will reject the abstinence message, then who says they’ll receive the “okay, then at least use a condom” rhetoric?

  33. Adam Owens says:

    I believe the issue at hand is simply sex before marriage.

    I recently asked a group of Freshman Students if saving sex until marriage was the right thing to do. 7 out of the 21 students raised their hands. In other words, almost 70% percent of the students thought it was OK to have sex before marriage. I continued and asked those that raised their hands why they felt it was wrong. One brave soul stood her ground and said a lot of it had to do with how her parents raised her.

    Now, society has definitely tried to brain wash us into thinking sex is OK before marriage. Think about it, how many sit-coms, movies, or reality shows have you seen that send the message, “first marriage, then sex”. We could say society has played a role.

    No doubt, the body has been plagued with the success syndrome. In some circles it has become more important to see how many kids we can get to come to our youth group, verses teaching them the Word and the power of the Spirit. I guess the church could be to blame.

    The young lady who stood her ground and said her convictions of saving sex ’till marriage was a direct result of how her parents raised her, also catches my attention. Study after study and statistic upon statistic, has shown the way kids are raised effects the way they make decisions. Can we blame parents, sure.

    With all that said, we could point finger after finger, but let me ask you a question. When we stand before the throne of God, will we be able to throw the blame on decisions we made?

    So what is a student ministry to do? “Do what God wants you to do. Teach the Word of God simply. Create a loving environment, loving fellowship. Share with them in the communion of the ordinances, and get them together for prayer. You will discover that the Lord will still add to the church, add to your youth fellowship, those that should be saved. And you will be amazed at what God can do.” (A quote by Pastor Chuck Smith.)

  34. Tom Bilderback says:

    Well I just finished teaching abstinence in our public schools we have a program that lets community volunteers teach the curriculum. I had read the articles attacking abstinence before I had started. I asked students at the end of the week if they though it was a pipedream or impossible to see what the reaction was. A senior girl who wasnt a believer told the class after what she had learned she had sat down with her boyfreind and told him they would no longer be having sex.
    I know its not perfect but like any other issue we need to share the whole truth becasue students will make their own decisions. If they see that safe sex considers nothing about their emotional damage and considers them to be animals with no self control they can make more informed decisions.
    The most rouble I run into as a youth pastor is parents who are afraid to keep close tabs on thier kids. Its not cool but I have taken my daughters cell phone or kept from going places when I wasnt totally safe with crowd or the or location. Remember they are still children with sexually active bodies.

  35. Tonya Berry says:

    *jaw drops open*

    Oh my gosh……..I had no idea the numbers were that staggering.

    What are the numbers for boys, I’m wondering??? Because it takes two to tango…