Home Youth Leaders Articles for Youth Leaders How to Lead a Small Group Sex Talk

How to Lead a Small Group Sex Talk

If you’ve ever tried to have a discussion with high school students about sexuality then you probably have discovered a few things to be true:

1. First, teens care about the subject of sexuality as a default. You don’t need to convince anyone that this is a worthy thing to discuss.

2. Second, they also are bombarded with images, ideas, thoughts and ideologies from all angles— parents/friends/media/religion/etc. They even have a perceived “right or wrong answer” they expect to get in church or from people in positions of authority around them—which has a collective tone-deaf effect on them that is both easy and popular to ignore as irrelevant and ideologically unappealing.

3. Last, knowing what they want to do and actually doing it are two radically different things. This is why simply having students sign a purity covenant or put on a ring rarely changes a student’s decisions, in my experience. They must have a much higher “get it factor” than a ceremony can provide in order to truly own their decisions and say yes and no on purpose.

So, knowing all that, here’s what we did tonight to get our students inside the real issues when it comes to dating, and not just give us a head nod or “Sunday School Answer.”

After a battle of the sexes trivia game just for fun, we split all the guys in one room and all the girls in another. Then we had them sit in their normal small groups around the room (a couple of adult leaders and eight students or so). Then we pulled three students (one from each of small group) and put them in chairs up front for a random panel discussion. If you are instead going to do this with just one small group, you could do this same panel by selecting one or two people to respond first.

Then, I read the panel a series of “it could happen” scenarios and asked their responses before we invited the individual small groups to spend a few  minutes kicking it around. It was so good and really got them talking. I loved the interaction and to see students verbally process their thinking on sexuality with authenticity and even vulnerability.

If you want to have a similar discussion with your own small group, here are some “it could happen” situations I wrote and a few questions to follow. Hope they’re helpful to you.

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Brian Berry is a proven veteran of student ministry. He serves as the generation ministries pastor at Journey Community Church near San Diego, California, where he works directly with the high school ministry and oversees a staff that is responsible for infants through teens. Brian is also a frequent blogger, writes and teaches for youth workers, and is the author of both As for Me and My Crazy House and Criticism Bites. He speaks at various conferences, camps, and retreats for a variety of audiences. He is married to Shannon, and they have five kids.