Sex. Love. Relationships. God.
Which of these things is not like the others?
If you asked most people on the average high street, they’d probably say the last one, either because they don’t think God exists, or that even if He does, He doesn’t have much to say about the other three aside for a few outdated rules.
Here at Ignite, we passionately believe that not only is God interested in sex, love and relationships, but that He created them and is at the centre of all three, as much today as He ever has been.
When this month’s Ignite event fell on Valentine’s Day, we thought it was the perfect opportunity to give our young people the chance to ask any questions they may have about sex, love and relationships. We ended up receiving over 30 questions via text message that we then grouped into themes; dating, marriage, the link between physical acts and emotional ties, sexuality, gender.
The heart behind the night for us wasn’t to try to better or replace the guidance each young person would be receiving from their families, youth groups and Churches, but to humbly and prayerfully support in that process. It was so encouraging to speak to youth workers and parents on the night who’d had conversations preparing their young people for the topics, and were committed to discussing any further questions in the coming days. That’s the kind of partnership that excites us!
The night began with a time of singing our praises and worship to God. The band led us brilliantly and helped create a real atmosphere of worship, reverence and celebration, which was the perfect tone for three of the Ignite youth leaders to then take some time answering as many of the questions as they could in 40(ish) minutes.
Each of the leaders spent a little bit of time sharing about their own background, believing that honesty, vulnerability and humility was the best place to come from in relating to the young people.
None of us are perfect, but we’d all thought, discussed and prayed about these questions a lot and felt we had some helpful answers to bring.
We live in the real world, a world in which our young people are being bombarded with messages about love, sex and romance in every song, TV show, film, magazine, video game and social media post. Often these messages, whether subtle or blatant, are far from God’s heart for these things, but rather than shy away from these topics, we at Ignite want to face them head on and give robust, loving and faithful input that we believe embodies the heart of God for our young people.
That was reflected on the night, as young people from 11-19 listened to each question with a maturity and interest that spoke to how important these topics are to their daily lives. As we went through the questions and shared our hearts on each topic, questions like “when is the right time to start dating?”, “do you have to be married to have sex?” and “what does the Bible say about sexuality?”, we sensed God really speak through us and work in the hearts of the young people.
That was shown further as we closed by reading the incredible words on love in 1 Corinthians 13, and joined together to sing praise to our God of grace who loves us relentlessly and wants us to live in His love. We offered last night as a chance to make a stand for these things in our lives, and had the privilege of praying with many young people as the meeting closed. We’re so excited to see the legacy over the coming months and years of what God worked in them through His Spirit last night.
Thanks so much for your prayers and support going into the event, please continue to pray for our young people going forward. We’re all in this together and this community makes us stronger.
Rael and the Ignite Team.