In a culture where sexualization is prevalent, what can youth workers do to promote purity for students?
Logan Rogers, youth worker with junior high ministry Heirborn, based in Clear Lake, Iowa, offered some insight as to why purity is important: "In today's world, impurity is only a few seconds away. Instilling purity into young students is invaluable to their spiritual development."
Rogers added, "Purity not only keeps you from walking down a variety of wrong paths, but helps you to gain spiritual discipline."
Living a pure life as a youth worker is the first step to being able to reach students. "You can't lead someone to a place you haven't been yourself," Rogers said. "The most effective approach to promoting purity is just ensuring that the leaders are following Christ and promoting purity in their own lifestyles first."
Reaching students on a personal level is key to establishing open channels of communication in a youth worker/student relationship. Rogers cited these relationships as "a major way our youth group promotes purity."
John Lafevers, who is currently working with Youth Outreach United in Suwanee, Ga., said purity is a difficult topic for youth workers as families take different approaches when explaining it to their children.
Lafevers continued, "We typically have dealt with the subject by citing specific passages that speak directly to the topic, and we try to limit ourselves on too much extrapolation upon those verses. Purity is a fairly common topic in Scripture, but it is almost always dealt with in the larger context of spiritual growth and sanctification."
"My goal as a youth worker is to promote spiritual growth and sanctification in such a way that purity becomes an easier decision for each individual student. Purity is a hard subject to help teens understand because it isn't all about how you use your body or affections; it's about your heart and desire to serve God in all areas of your life. This is a deeper and more difficult idea to get across and even harder to emulate in all walks of life," LaFevers concluded. Purity is much more than just how students act toward the opposite sex; it is also a part of a relationship with God.
Youth worker Lindsey Calhoun has been involved in high school ministry for two years. She works as an adult sponsor for the high school youth group Brothers and Sisters Eternally (BASE) in Clear Lake, Iowa.
She also has been involved with a Christian convention called The Supermodel Conference. Headed by former Miss Iowa 1997 Sherry Riley Prescott, the conference emphasizes purity for women through speech, appearance and lifestyle choices.
"I think youth workers should be concerned with purity because of what 1 Timothy 4:12 says: ‘Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity,'" Calhoun said.