LifeWay Christian Resource will relaunch their "True Love Waits" program later this month in honor of its 20th anniversary along with a revamped curriculum for its international campaign designed to challenge young adults to make a commitment to sexual abstinence until marriage.
The new initiative was undertaken by Clayton King, an evangelist and founder of Crossroads Worldwide, who rewrote the entire program with the goal to introduce a modern focus on the same message that has been encouraged onto millions of youth for the last two decades. King hopes to inspire them to steer away from society's idea of sexuality while encouraging them to defy the stereotype of over-sexualized teenagers by living for God instead of their own temporary pleasures.
"The True Love Project seeks to communicate God's design for relationships to a new generation of students and young adults who may be struggling or confused about love, dating and sex," said King, to The Christian Post. "In a culture that has largely abandoned a traditional view of marriage, our hope is to communicate truth in a clear and winsome way, encouraging young men and women to follow God's plan for their relationships."
King has been preaching and writing about love, sex and marriage for more than two decades throughout churches, public schools, and college campuses after being a part of the 'True Love Waits' movement that began in 1994. That same year, over 210,000 covenant cards were displayed on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. as the project's first event and to this day, an estimated three million youth have signed commitment cards pledging sexual purity, including King who said the pledge changed the trajectory of his life as a young adult.
With the new program set to launch in time for Christmas, he says his message is not an attempt to say anything new but rather to draw attention to the unchangeable word of God and emphasize that He is the creator of people's bodies and sexuality. King also says the current project is unique in comparison to other abstinent-focused campaigns including the original 'True Love Waits' because his intention is not to "elevate virginity as the ultimate goal."
"The project will have a greater focus on God's grace and mercy for those of us who have been abused, who have made mistakes in relationships, or who have guilt and shame resulting from sexual sin," said King. "I want people to know that God doesn't hate them because of their past, but that in Jesus Christ they can be forgiven, healed, and redeemed. Just because they messed up, it doesn't mean they give up."
On his blog, King emphasizes that message of redemption and adds that young adults should focus on being found faithful on judgment day versus focusing on being a virgin on their wedding day, although the campaign's underlying theme is to remain sexually pure as demanded by God.
"I want them to be prepared for a Christ-centered, God-honoring marriage one day. I want them to be ready to raise their own children, should God grant them, to know and follow Jesus," King writes in his blog about his hopes for the next generation. He continues, "Ultimately I pray that they will echo Paul's admonition to the church in Corinth, that they would know that they are bought with a price and should therefore glorify God with their bodies."
In addition to his goal of encouraging individuals to remain sexually pure, King's message also addresses the topic of Lordship over people's lives.
"If Jesus is your Lord, then you will gladly do what He says, trusting that because He loves you and He knows what's best for you," said King to CP. "His standards of abstinence before marriage and fidelity within marriage are for your own joy and happiness. Submitting yourself to the Lordship of Christ in the area of your sexuality is also a witness to the world that you belong to Jesus."
Since its inception 20 years ago, the 'True Love Waits' project has served as a catalyst for bringing people together around the abstinence message in schools, youth groups and communities, and the project has created a legacy that King hopes will continue to resound among the youth for generations to come.
"The good news is that temptation, lust, porn, sex, shame, and guilt are no match for the grace that Jesus offers us. If True Love Project gives people a better view of the beauty and majesty of Jesus Christ, if it inspires them to bring their past mistakes and failures to Jesus, if it helps them receive His forgiveness and move past the shame of their sin, if it helps them set standards for what is right and wrong in dating relationships, and if it helps them see love as serving and sacrificing, then it will leave a legacy that I would be proud of," said King.