When I was a young girl, the sexual revolution in America was in full swing. Playboy magazine was launched in the early 1950s, and within a couple of decades, it ushered Americans (and in many ways the world) into new and skewed ways of thinking about sexuality that continue to this day. I’ve never known a world without sexual images and destructive sexual ideology. But the sexual messages I internalized in the past do not begin to compare with what I now know of God’s covenantal love for us displayed within our sexuality.

God is the designer of bodies, sexuality, and sex. The deep love God has for us and His desire for intimacy with us is displayed in our sexuality. In my lifetime, I can only remember a handful of references to this from a leader in the Christian Church.

My heart longs for a Church that will teach and model God’s design for sexuality. Our world is drowning in sexual shame, confusion, misinformation, and sin. Where is the Christian Church? I believe God will use our prayers to usher in a revival of sorts, a new sexual revolution that is so needed.

Most Christians today have no idea how to compassionately and truthfully articulate what the Bible says about sexuality or lead someone to helpful information for related struggles. TrueNorth is working to change that. We recently co-hosted the Sexual Integrity Leadership Summit (SILS) at Johnson Ferry Baptist Church. About 200 men and women gathered to learn more about sexuality and how the Christian Church can become a place of hope, healing, and restoration. We heard incredible truths about sexuality that are setting people free to love and be loved in a covenant relationship with God.

We may think sexual struggles are rare, but it turns out that most of us have shame, pain, wounding, or ongoing struggles related to sex or sexuality. This doesn’t surprise me considering we live in a broken world and our soul enemy understands the significance of sexuality. I believe our sexuality is a target for Satan at every stage of life. Of course he would want to destroy what God has proclaimed good.

Let me share some statistics that bear this out. Sexual abuse affects well over 20% of all Americans, given that about 20% experienced the wounding of sexual abuse in childhood [1] and each case of abuse involved an abuser. Many believe these numbers are low because most cases go unreported. Between 66% and 75% of all men and 42% of younger women are regular users of porn.[2] About one in ten visitors to porn sites are less than ten years old.[3] Over 40 percent of women who have had an abortion say they were frequent churchgoers.[4]

I’m not sure how much more evidence is needed to convey the deep need for compassionate teaching on sexuality within the Christian Church. It’s clear that issues related to sexual brokenness are quite common. So many are wounded and wearied by a hyper-sexualized culture. The fields are ripe for the harvest.

I attend a large, thriving, dynamic church in the Atlanta area. It’s known for its teaching and reaching the lost for Christ. They know how to do church well. When a gay friend of mine told me he’d attended and served in my church for several years but left without a single person reaching out to ask where he’d been, my heart ached for him. This young man grew up with a biblical understanding of sexuality and had worked to surrender his same-sex attraction to Christ and remain celibate. I have no idea how many people in this conservative church even knew of his struggle or how they responded if they did know. Was he just one of the lost sheep that no one knew how to reach? Or were other believers in his life simply unsure of what to say or how to love him well and lead him to answers in the midst of a very deep sexual struggle?

I believe we missed an opportunity because we are ill-equipped in two ways: modeling and teaching the sacredness of sexuality as God designed it and loving people well who either disagree with us or who have struggles related to sexuality.

If there was ever a time that the Christian Church and its leaders needed prayer, it is now. Culture is the driving force behind sexual topics today, and the Church needs wisdom and grace to engage on them.

Will you join me in praying for the Christian Church and for a new sexual revolution? We at TrueNorth gather regularly to pray for Christian leaders and the Church. Perhaps you’d like to join us or gather with a few believers and begin your own prayer group. Please pray:

  • For wisdom for our leaders to see how profoundly sexual issues and struggles affect every single person they lead and for them to have compassion and empathy for their flock.
  • That those who lead churches and ministries will have a fear of God that is greater than their fear of man.
  • For Christian leaders to equip believers to understand and engage with others on controversial topics related to sexuality.
  • For grace and the Holy Spirit’s leading to teach biblical truth related to sexuality.
  • For our leaders’ personal testimonies, the courage to admit their own failures, and courage to share the good news of God’s redemption in their lives.
  • For leaders currently struggling with sexual sin or shame, that the Holy Spirit will lead them to a place of conviction and courage to bring their struggle into the light to find healing.
  • Where sexual sin is revealed, that our leaders would pursue repentance, forgiveness, restoration, and healing.
  • For all who walk in sexual shame, that God would lead them to healing and grace.
  • For many more to find healing and restoration for issues related to sex and sexuality.
  • That each of us would see our role as members of the body of Christ to learn more about our sacred sexuality and how to help others understand it and live it out in the power of Christ.
  • For revival that will free up the Christian Church to become more open and honest about sexual brokenness so we can lead those outside the faith to find their answers in Christ.
  • For more Christian leaders to join the movement toward sexual wholeness and healing in the Christian Church by aligning with organizations like ours and attending the Sexual Integrity Leadership Summit.

If the Lord leads, ask for a meeting with one of your pastors to talk about how the hurting body of Christ needs solid teaching on sexual topics, both for our own personal struggles but also for the struggles of our friends, relatives, and communities. Remember to go with a spirit of humility, vulnerability, and compassion. Remember you’ll be talking with another image bearer of God who’s had his or her own struggles related to sexuality and may not be open to discussing these topics. Ask how you can pray for him or her. Tell your pastor about TrueNorth, the many resources we have on our website, our Allies talk for parents, and our weekly blog posts.

My prayer is that the Christian Church would not only provide answers to our deepest questions related to sexuality but that many would find a deeper faith in Christ through them. This is how God works. He takes broken things and makes something beautiful and useful out of them. He restores. He heals. He redeems. He is faithful to finish what He starts. His plans and purposes will be accomplished.

May the Christian Church grow in humility and authenticity. May we be a light to a world darkened by sexual woundedness, sin, and shame. May Christ be glorified through you and me as we continue to surrender our sacred sexuality to Him for His purposes and for His glory.

Would you like to know more about the sacredness of sexuality and how to find hope for related struggles? Check out our other blog posts or email me at annek@truenorthfp.org. Let us know how we can encourage or equip you! Share topics you’re curious about. We’d love to hear from you.

Anne

Anne Kerr

Founder and CEO, TrueNorth Freedom Project, Atlanta, GA.

PS The 2020 Sexual Integrity Leadership Summit will be May 14-16 in Portland, OR. Save the date, register for updates, and plan to join us!

[1] https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0749379705000784

[2] https://www.provenmen.org/2014pornsurvey/ (I have a physical copy of an earlier version of survey results which includes these statistics. Proven Men may limit the data currently released as they maintain control over results of this survey which they funded.)

[3] https://hotforsecurity.bitdefender.com/blog/one-in-10-visitors-of-porn-sites-is-under-10-years-old-16675.html

[4] https://www.christianpost.com/news/70-of-women-who-get-abortions-identify-as-christians-survey-finds.html

Want to help us bring the good news of sexuality to a hurting and broken world? Find ways to give here. TrueNorth is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization. Donations are tax deductible and our EIN is 46-5767272.

Photo by Edwin Andrade