Sex, Porn and Children’s Ministry

Posted on 17. Jan, 2011 by in Family, Parents

Okay, I think that title officially breaks the ice. :)

So, I’ve been struggling with some heavy thoughts concerning sex and pornography and how it affects kids since early November. It’s a pretty heavy topic and I just wanted to think about how I’d open this important conversation that nobody seems to be having. I don’t know, maybe someone is, but I’ve not seen it or heard it anywhere.

Back in November, my church had a service titled “Porn Sunday.” Although hot topic over uncomfortable subjects like pornography seem to create a stir, it was a powerful service that attacked the issue head on and we saw lots of people begin to deal with addictions and dealings with pornography. But it was during that service where I heard and saw some statistics that turned my stomach.

  • Well over half of all men fit the definition of a sex addict
  • Nearly 70% of 18-24 year olds fit the definition of sex addict
  • The largest user base of pornography are children between the ages of 12-17
  • The average age of a persons first exposure is age 8

I think that most people would agree that pornography is significantly harmful and toxic. When studies show that 50% of men fit the definition of sex addict (primarily due to consumption of porn), that would be defined as a serious problem.

What’s even more significant is that this problem typically begins and takes root in the lives of children. The same children who are attending our elementary programs. Don’t think you can pick out which kids it is either. That kid who comes every Sunday, participates in worship as much or more than any other kid and seems to really be taking what you say to heart… yeah, that kid might be dealing with the beginnings of a porn addiction already.

I’m just curious. Why hasn’t there been much of anything said about this problem in our kidmin circles? We all know it’s a significant issue, but it seems like the subject of pornography and sex is kinda taboo. I know that there is a balance in place. Many of the kids in our ministries are old enough to begin having frank conversations about this stuff, but even more aren’t old enough yet and protecting their innocence is just as important.

Please hear me, I’m not suggesting programs for kids or additional small group questions for the 4th and 5th grade boys to deal with these issues. I believe that no one is more qualified to breach these subjects with kids than parents, but I want to know what the church is doing to help prepare parents for talking about these subject. Quite frankly, I don’t think enough parents are having the conversations or for that matter, I don’t think many parents know how to navigate that conversation. How are we helping? How can we help?

Okay, not that I’ve broken the ice, let’s begin the conversation this week. All week I’ll be posting about this topic and more than anything, I’ll be asking a lot of questions. I want to know what is being done out there (and if so, why aren’t we hearing about it). I also want to know what could be done, what doesn’t exist, but should. Hopefully we’ll have some great conversations about the elephant in the room.

Meet Kenny

Kenny Conley has written 1780 posts on CMO.

Kenny Conley is the primary author of Childrens Ministry Online and the NextGen Pastor at Gateway Church in Austin, TX. In addition to creating the Illuminate Conference, a high quality kidmin conference designed specifically for volunteers, Kenny is a published author and speaker. For more biographical info, click here.

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  • http://www.jonathancliff.com jonathan

    Thanks for automatically triggering the porn watch software on my computer with that title!

    As a parent, talking about sex is a big part of raising my kids. It’s a sticky thing on how to get parents help from church…

    I’m ready for some ideas…

  • http://theinclusivechurch.wordpress.com/ AmyFentonLee

    Thank you so much for starting this conversation. This issue is tidal-wave big!

  • http://jennyfunderburke.com Jenny Funderburke

    I’ve always said that when we don’t address the tough things in culture that our kids are hearing and learning and seeing everywhere else, we run the risk of communicating that God and the church are unrelated to those things. If we as parents aren’t communicating to those 8 year olds how God views sex before they start running across the junk the world throws at them, the world gets first shot at forming their worldview.

    We should definitely equip parents for this and help them approach tough topics from God’s perspective. I’ve heard of churches having preteen retreats that focus on sex… not sure I’m brave enough for that.

    Didn’t Bryan Haynes include a parent conversation/get away as part of his milestones? That might be good?

    Appreciate you starting the conversation!

  • http://childrensministryonline.com Kenny

    Yeah… I’m excited to explore what currently exists, what exists for teenagers but should exist in some form with Elementary aged kids, and what isn’t even on the radar… yet. Can’t wait!

  • Karyn

    This is a big issue! I have to admit, I tend to be a quiet reader of many Children’s Ministry blogs….partly because by the time I catch up on reading everything in my reader, the conversation is already over.
    BUT
    This is huge! I just went to a nearby church that was hosting a “My Best for You” led by two very wonderful women from Indiana…..Lisa Newton and Tammie LeClerc. It was aimed for preteens and was a fantastic way to help parents have conversations with their preteens. This topic was briefly addressed.
    My concern still stands…..if it is something that our 8 year olds are encountering, then preteen is too late to address anything purity-wise or sex-ed wise…….
    A huge need in our community. I look forward to hearing what else you all know/resources you have.