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Monday, February 16, 2009

Another Church Getting Intimate in the Pulpit

Sex and the sermon: Pastor in Gardens strips away taboos

Palm Beach Community Church makes headlines with a sermon series on sex and it's promotional billboards that go with it. For whatever reason, it still is a big deal when a church talks openly about sex.

Nearly everybody who does a sermon series on sexuality and a promotional campaign with it gets accused of preaching to "itching ears", referring to 2 Timothy 4:3 "For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear." Translated: they preach about sex because it's what people want to hear.

They also get accused of doing it just for a marketing ploy to get people through the door. Maybe some churches do that but so far, the one's I've seen seem genuinely interested in serving their people and don't seem to have any trouble getting people through the door already.

I'm going to go out on a limb. Maybe you or your church doesn't need to do an entire sermon series along with a sexy gimmicky marketing campaign. But if you're not addressing sexual ethics and giving God's perspective on sex from the pulpit shame on you. It's not so much your people want to hear about it, they NEED to.

You say, "What about the old ladies at church? Do they need to hear about it?" Yes they do, so that they can be another voice of godliness in the ears of their children, grandchildren and other youth that look up to them. They, along with everyone else, need to be part of the chorus of voices that call ring in the ears of all our people, especially young people, when they are considering what's right and wrong.

Furthermore, have you kept track of the growing number of news articles that talk about seniors enjoying sexuality into their latter years and the problems at various elder care facilities dealing with promiscuous senior adults? And how many senior folks live in partnered relationships instead of marrying for a variety of financial reasons? Have we thought about how confusing that is to a young person who wants to do the same but we tell them "That's wrong!"

The staggering number of teens and adults -- men, women and youth -- dealing with porn directly or suffering the consequences of someone else' problem is growing. It's an epidemic.

People don't have just itching ears, they are itching elsewhere from the poor choices they've made in their sex lives. They need a church that's going to bring them a message of hope and forgiveness, letting them know their life can be redeemed from the mistakes they have made. They need a church that is unequivocally clear on God's standards for purity and how He desires to protect them and give them a sacred gift not just restrict their fun. They need a church that routinely encourages them to do what's right when they are bombarded with repeated messages, multiple times a day, with temptations to do otherwise.

I find it unconscionable how quiet many churches are in the midst of the concophany of competing godless voices that are attempting to fill the ears of our parishioners. The Bible isn't silent on sexuality and preacher and pulpit should not be either.

We need a few more churches like Palm Beach Community Church and the others who risk their reputation or someone going home mad because they addressed this important issue. Here's a quote from the linked article above:

But [Pastor Ray] Underwood is one of a growing number of church leaders willing to take on a topic that was once off limits. People have real questions about how to keep their marriages strong, how to talk to their kids about sex, what to do with desire and how to recover from adultery, he said.

"I think we should be more aggressive and upfront about talking about critical issues in people's lives. In the past, I think we were embarrassed and unsure about ourselves."

Comments on "Another Church Getting Intimate in the Pulpit"


Blogger Kim said ... (3:07 PM, February 16, 2009) : 

I think it's all gimmicky. A marketing ploy to get people in the door. If they're hoping to attract the unchurched with this, I really don't think it'll work.

By all means, however, open the topic up on a Sunday morning with your regular congregation. I like what you said about the shocked older folks, LOL. They need to hear stuff in order to be more effective role models to young people. Perhaps they don't realize how much young people are looking to them. Whether they look up to them or not is another story.


Blogger theultrarev said ... (3:16 PM, February 16, 2009) : 

That's fair. Honestly, it could all be a gimmick. Though personally I think at some level (no matter how small) these pastors and churches really, honestly want their people to be more holy and knowledgeable in regards to Biblical sexual ethics, and they want stronger marriages in their church too. I really think they do. However, do they get billboards for all their sermon series or just the sex ones? I suppose that could be telling.


Blogger Kim said ... (3:30 PM, February 16, 2009) : 

However, do they get billboards for all their sermon series or just the sex ones?

Why get billboards at all for such a topic? I dunno, I guess I take issue with getting people in the door and telling them the rules they should follow and how they should live before introducing them to the Master. I'm not saying that's what this particular church is doing, so please don't think I'm passing judgement on their motives, I have no idea what they are. :) I'm just sayin', though...


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