New Youth Ministry Resource Focuses on Relationship Education
Sewickley, PA - Nationally, Planned Parenthood is the largest sex education provider in public school systems. Let that sink in for a moment. The nation’s largest abortion-provider is going into schools and teaching students how to have “safe, healthy sex,” and what their options are if they encounter an unwanted pregnancy or STD. In essence, they meet the culture where it’s at. They support students in making decisions that developmentally they aren’t yet able to make, creating potential damage that will last for the rest of their lives. “Generation Z” already believes that Christianity is a religion that has too many rules, many about sex. In fact, they’ve disconnected sex and relationships so much so that the majority aren’t terribly interested in sex itself – porn is safer to them. To counter Planned Parenthood’s efforts and the cultural narrative, we are excited to announce the official release of a culturally-relevant, Gospel-centered youth ministry resource called Abundant Life: You Were Made for More!
Development of Abundant Life: You Were Made for More began after Anglicans for Life, and Sammie Franks*, AFL’s Coordinator of Ministry Outreach, recognized the need to equip youth leaders, engage teenagers, and partner with parents on the issue of relationship education. This new resource covers topics like healthy relationships, sexuality, dating, and decision-making, pornography addiction, identity, social media usage, loneliness, depression, and suicide - all resting on the ultimate redemption found only in Jesus. The author was inspired to create this resource for youth leaders after her own experience in youth ministry; Sammie believes wholeheartedly that when teenagers know what they are worth and whose they are, they will be more inclined to live for Jesus – following His commandments and walking in His ways. So, she worked to develop a comprehensive curriculum that helps to guide them in that commitment. The web-based series has 4 modules made up of 12 teachings, complete with large-group presentations, marketing graphics, supplemental resources, and small group questions.
This is not an easy, popular, or effortless battle - but it is a necessary one. Author of the curriculum, Sammie Franks, says this: “Statistically, the worst thing our culture does for young people is to water down sex education. We misunderstand teenagers when we assume that they are just immature, physically and emotionally, in how they think about relationships. Beneath the physiological realities, resides a deep, human desire for connection. We were made for relationship. But we have to recognize that ultimate intimacy comes in our relationship with God. When we fail to help young people navigate how sex and relationships fit into the broader category of life, we are failing the God who created relationship to be a deep, bountiful gift for us.”
Bishop John Guernsey commends this initiative to youth directors, parents, and anyone who is investing in the lives
teenagers, saying: “Abundant Life: You Were Made for More has a powerful message that God wants to communicate with the youth in our churches. The idea that we must discover who God created us to be and, more importantly, believe and trust in Him as our foundation before we dive into relationships with others is revolutionary in today’s culture. We live in a society that has foolishly redefined “love” to be selfish, temporary, and contingent on feelings. That isn’t love. When we get back to who God is, and who we are because of Him, that definition of love can be transformed.”
Taylor, a 21 year old, who has participated in the Abundant Life teaching said, "Not only did this open my eyes to the real definition of purity that the Lord calls us to, but for the first time I understood the very real, tangible impact of past relationships on my future marriage. After hearing the message in Abundant Life, it confirmed the love that the Lord has for me, and how I need Him if I'm ever going to have a relationship with someone else."
Founded 40 years ago, Anglicans for Life is the only Anglican organization dedicated to educating and equipping the Church to advocate for life - from conception until natural death. Anglicans for Life has backed this initiative after seeing the value in teaching students about who they are, emphasizing their identity, and weaving that into their relationships.
To find out more about Abundant Life: You Were Made for More, call 412-749-0455 or visit the web site www.YouWereMadeforMore.org.
*Sammie Franks is a volunteer youth leader at St. Phillips in Moon Township and First Presbyterian in Waynesburg.