Sex and the Pulpit: How Should Churches Talk About Sex?

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  • Ed Young
    (Photo: Fellowship Church via The Christian Post)
    Pastor Ed Young and his wife, Lisa, preach about sex at Fellowship Church in Grapevine, Texas, Sunday, Jan. 8, 2012.
  • Ed Young
    (Photo: Fellowship Church via The Christian Post)
    Pastor Ed Young and his wife, Lisa, preach about sex at Fellowship Church in Grapevine, Texas, Sunday, Jan. 8, 2012.
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By Brittany Smith, Christian Post Reporter
January 12, 2012|11:02 am

The new buzzword in church these days is sex.

Pastors Ed Young of Texas-based Fellowship Church and Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church in Seattle are being intentional about talking about sex from the pulpit this month and they’re not being coy about it either.

In fact Young and his wife, Lisa, are set to spend 24 hours in bed on their church’s roof beginning Friday morning to discuss their new book Sexperiment, and encourage married couples to understand the power of a healthy sex life. The event is being streamed live on the Web.

With both pastors making headlines for their books (Driscoll released Real Marriage: The Truth About Sex, Friendship & Life Together) and less than traditional approaches to the taboo subject of sex, Christians are weighing whether there is an appropriate way to tackle it.

Craig Gross, founder of XXXChurch.com, a nonprofit Christian website that helps those who struggle with pornography, told The Christian Post that he isn’t sure if there is a set way to talk about sex and marriage, but “talking about sex should happen in the church.”

“Most churches will shy away from anything over the top,” he commented.

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Yes, it will be uncomfortable and challenging to talk about sex because “people are not used to these conversations in church,” Gross acknowledged, “but hopefully that will change and people will come to expect the Church to talk about relevant issues facing people and marriages today.”

Gross applauds Pastor Young and his wife for pushing the limit and not being afraid when it comes to talking about sex. But he noted that their approach, particularly the upcoming “bed-in,” “works for Ed.”

“It might not work for your church,” the Las Vegas pastor pointed out.

Young “knows how to get the press’s attention, and then again so do I,” Gross said. “But some of this stuff I look at and just wonder if it is just about book sales or publicity … Now he is promoting a new book and going to put a bed on a roof.”

“If you pastor a church and shepherd a congregation, issues like sex should not just be about gimmicks and promotions … Once you have their attention you have to make sure you teach solid material and offer some help,” Gross stressed.

When Gross speaks at different churches he first tries to understand what kind of audience he is speaking to. It’s not about the shock value. He noted, “XXXChurch is shocking … I don’t mind being shocking, but I would personally stay away from just being too gimmicky.”

There is a different line for each church, in terms of talking about sex; it depends on your location, denomination and the history of the church, he said.

“Find what works for your congregation and your people and do it.”

In conjunction with their book’s release, the Youngs kicked off their “Sexperiment” sermon series last weekend, complete with a bed on stage. They’re hoping to convey to believers the message that God created sex and Christians need to “take this gift back (from society) and use it in a God-given way.”

“We want to … create a sexual revolution, if you will, for the culture to get their cues maybe from the Church instead of the Church being silent,” said Lisa Young to thousands of attendees.

And Gross believes Christians’ sex lives could use some help. “I think Christians are having some of the worst sex out of anyone I know. We should be having the best sex. This is a problem.”

Randy Frazee, senior minister at Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, Texas, echoed Gross’ comment. He told CP, “I am convinced that the majority of Christians have substandard sexual experiences and it is causing great harm to the foundation of our families as the alternatives are heavily promoted everywhere you turn.”

But Frazee takes a different approach to the topic of sex at his church. He doesn’t talk about it from the pulpit, mainly because of the number of children in the audience.

Nevertheless, he stressed, “We need more specific chats on the topic – greater honesty about what drives men and women sexually.” This could be through counseling sessions, marriage retreats, and maybe even on the Internet.

“Many Christians will shake their heads at this topic. I understand,” he added. “However, let's remember that one entire book of the Bible was devoted to subject – the Song of Songs – and it is pretty R-Rated.

“God created the man, the woman, and marriage. He invented the idea and labeled it as good.”

 

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