Culture At Large

Sex and Middle School Ministry

Jerod Clark

Our friend Kent Shaffer over at recently posted some stats from The University of Texas Health Science Center about middle school age kids and sex.

1/3 of students experienced sexual touching 12% of students experienced sex by age 12 7.9% of students experienced oral sex by age 12 6.5% of students experienced non traditional sex by age 12 4% of students experienced all three types of sex by age 12

While the numbers aren’t huge, they’re probably higher than many of us want to think.  And it’s a concern especially when you take a look at how impressionable that age group can be.  A Barna Group study, which dates back to 2006, found that age 12 is a big decision point.  Researchers say this is a time when kids are making choices on morals, beliefs, relationships and life goals.  Another Barna survey concluded:

What you believe at age 13 is pretty much what you’re going to die believing.

It’s also a tough age to talk about sex because some middles schools are thinking about it and others aren’t.

Shaffer put it this way:

It takes tact, grace, and wisdom to discuss these things with students without offending or embarrassing them or their parents. It is challenging but worth it. It is much easier for a middle school minister to teach a preventive message than it is for a high school minister to rewire students’ established bad habits.

With the importance of reaching this impressionable age group it makes me wonder what our churches are doing for middle school ministry.  Many of us focus a lot on high school groups, but should we be focusing more on the middle schoolers too?  Do we spend too much time on games and not enough time on the issues?  I think this is the age where they’re not only making moral choices but are likely to make a decision for, or against, Christ as well.

What do you think?  When does your church have the sex talk?  How does your church handle middle schoolers?  What more can we do?

Topics: Culture At Large, Theology & The Church, The Church, News & Politics, Social Trends, Justice, Home & Family, Sex