Archives For preteen ministry

A few days ago, I posted Talking to Preteens about Sex—Part 1, which included survey responses from our 6th graders. The results showed that, contrary to what some may say, preteens prefer to discuss the topic of sex with their parents.

Now what? Most parents are wondering how they’re supposed to approach the subject of sex with their preteen. Here are a few tips that can help parents initiate these conversations:

1. It’s a Marathon, not a sprint.
There is way too much information and way too many questions to cover in one conversation. Due to the awkwardness of the topic, many parents will try to pack as much information into the first conversation as possible. Instead, we need to create an ongoing conversation. This means frequent conversations that answer immediate questions asked by your preteen, but save additional information for later conversations. Research from Dr. Steven C. Martino actually suggests that the more [frequency over time] a parent talks with adolescents about sex, the healthier those adolescents will be and the longer they will wait to have sex. As Christian parents, our prayer is that they will understand and embrace the truth of God’s design for sex in marriage.

2. Break the Ice
Don’t wait for your preteen to start talking. They have questions, but it is unlikely that they will take the first step. Look for opportunities to initiate these conversations. It could be something seen on TV, something that happens at school, or something that is said by a sibling. Ask preteens what or how they feel, and try to listen for their questions or concerns. If those opportunities are not available, pick a time in your routine to have ongoing conversations., such as riding to school, getting ready for bed, etc.

3. Do Your Homework
#1 and #2 really address when and how to have conversations about sex with your preteen, but what do you say? It is a great idea to partner with other parents of preteens to find out what is working and not working. There are also great resources available that speak on this subject from a Christian perspective. These resources can be for you, or some can be given to your preteen as a catalyst for conversation. They can read and ask questions at the pace that is comfortable for them. But, you still have to initiate by buying the book! Here is a short list of resources to check out:

Passport 2 Purity Weekend Kit

Questions Kids Ask about Sex: Honest Answers for Every Age (More medical-based than faith-based)

Teaching Your Children Healthy Sexuality: A Biblical Approach to Preparing Them for Life

Preparing Your Daughter for Every Woman’s Battle: Creative Conversations About Sexual and Emotional Integrity

Preparing Your Son for Every Man’s Battle: Honest Conversations About Sexual Integrity

This homeschool product specifically reflects a Christian worldview. How to Talk Confidently with Your Child About Sex: Fifth Edition (Also comes as a series for boys or girls)      

We recently conducted a survey with 6th grade students to find out their thoughts on the subject of sex. The survey was not intrusive, but appropriately crafted to get their honest responses. The survey results were intriguing to say the least, but one point really stood out.

A question on the survey asked preteens to note the source for the knowledge they had about sex. Overwhelmingly, the majority selected with “Media” or “Peers/Siblings.”  Based on their answers, 70%-80% of what they knew about sex came from one of those two sources. The other 20%-30% came from “school.” Only a few responses noted “Parents” as a source for their information about sex.

While this was shocking, it was not the end of their responses. A later question on the survey asked, “Who would you prefer to talk with about sex?” This question was not multiple-choice, so preteens had to write in their response. 96% of the surveys responded with either “Mom” or “Dad.”

According to this survey taken by our students, preteens are learning about sex from what the see on television and Internet. That is being supplemented by the conversations they have with their peers.

The influence of these outside sources has left preteens with questions and a desire for answers. The truth is: preteens prefer to discuss the topic of sex with their parents. Many parents would not believe this response, even if they read the surveys! Preteens recognize the wisdom and experience of their parents, and they are willing to listen.

Preteens are learning about sex. If parents are the ones owning that conversation, who is? If you are a parent or leader of preteens, how are you talking to preteens about sex?

Stay tuned this week for some tips on talking with preteens about sex.

 A few weeks back, I made a decision to put the blog on the back burner to focus on some other projects and to try and spend more time with my family. I told myself that I would wait until March 1 to post again…and it’s been a long hard wait! I’ve enjoyed the break and all that has happened. But to be honest, it’s been tough not writing and sharing everything that’s going on.

Here is an overview of the things that I’ll be sharing about in the next couple of days:

  • Preteen Leader’s Conference: I’m really excited about heading to California to meet with other preteen leaders for this event. Plus, I’ll be leading a couple of breakouts at the conference.
  • Breakout Topics: I will be previewing the breakout sessions on the blog and asking for feedback from you. This will help me focus on what will be the most help for other preteen leaders.
  • New Preteen Ministry: Much of my focus during the 2 month hiatus was on the future of 5th and 6th grade ministries at Fellowship Bible Church. I’m looking forward to showing our curriculum design, room design, and awesome new identity w/ logo. I’m excited about the plan God has laid on our hearts for our church and our satellite campuses.
  • Lots more!

 

A Call to Prayer

January 16, 2012 — 3 Comments

While in class at seminary last week, I was personally challenged and awakened. Dr. Richard Ross (@richardaross) did a great job of opening students’ eyes, but I believe it was God moving me and calling me to action.

I felt the urge to pray and to call parents and leaders to pray as well. I sat in class and heard testimony after testimony of how God moved when His people prayed. I realized that I had never experienced the presence of God in that way, but I so desperately wanted to. And I want parents and preteens to experience His presence as well. I have to admit that my prayer life sucks, but in that moment I felt like God was calling me to pray.

When God calls you to move, you move. So, at 11:00 p.m. on Thursday night I made a move. I typed a short letter to all leaders and parents calling them to unite in prayer on Wednesday, January 18. And at 11:36 p.m., I hit send and I waited.

When I woke up the next morning, I had 15 unread email messages. Between midnight and 6:30 am, 15 parents had committed to praying. And then the number just kept growing. I snapped these screenshots on Friday while I sat in class and watched the number of unread Mail messages grow… (check out the number next to “Mail” at the bottom of the screen and the time at the top of the screen)

Picture4

On Wednesday, January 18, between 11:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m., I’m expecting well over 100 parents praying together for their families and for preteen ministry. It’s amazing to see what God has already done to turn our hearts to prayer, and I can’t wait to see what else He does!

Whether you’re a preteen parent, preteen leader, or someone who just stumbled upon this post, I want to invite you to pray with us. On Wednesday, January 18, between 11:30 am and 1:00 pm, consider taking 10-30 minutes to pray for your family and for preteen ministry.

Wherever you are, just pray. If you would like to pray with us, you can email me and I will send you a prayer guide. The prayer guide will help you to pray for specific things and will give unity to our prayers. It is our desire to see preteens love Christ and follow Him. So, on Wednesday, we will callon His name for just that.