Read part I here. Disclaimer: These posts and their outbound links contain mature material. But it’s a conversation that needs to happen.
Previously on EMpressions: The Church is not immune to cultural trends, even “hooking up.” While we may all agree that it shouldn’t be happening, it doesn’t mean that it isn’t happening. And what are we doing about it?
As a twenty-something who would presumably fit into the hookup demographic, I suppose my ear is more attuned to the issue than many church members. So take what I have to say with a grain of salt. And please know that I also challenge myself—I need to be more involved, too.
I see a serious lack of action in the Church regarding this issue. And I get it—it’s hard. The conversation is awkward. You have to use words that are uncomfortable and hard to say. And how do you even start? All valid questions—it’s okay to be nervous about it. But by no means may these be excuses for inaction.
And I know there’s a weird generation gap, too. The 40-somethings and the 50-somethings have a hard time connecting with the 20-somethings and the teenagers. And the young adults find it easy to ignore the wisdom of the been-there-done-that crowd. It’s difficult on both fronts. But…still not an excuse for inaction.
So there is a real problem. And I believe there are real solutions to it. But it starts with you.
You are a Solution
There are a lot of great books that dive into this issue head first. Some of my favorites include What Are You Waiting For?: The One Thing No One Ever Tells You About Sex by Dannah Gresh, and Bare Naked Truth: Dating, Waiting, and God’s Purity Plan by Bekah Hamrick Martin.
And a good book is always helpful. But (you knew that was coming, right?)…
Millennials—you know, the generation whose phones grow from our thumbs, take more pictures in a day than are in your yearbook, and is synonymous with “social media”—well, we like books…sort of.
But what we really like is you.
Friends don’t let friends hookup
This might seem contradictory, so let me explain. The generation that is currently in college pursuing careers—and hooking up—might say we don’t want relationships. But when it comes to church and ministry, we do. We don’t want to be thrown a book (or a scarlet letter).
This generation loves community. That’s why we’re always on our phones—texting, tweeting, facebooking (yes, that’s a verb now)—we love to be connected with others.
We’re begging you to connect with us. We want to be in community, in relationship with you. We want to belong. So get our phone numbers, friend us on Facebook, and talk about things other than church (but talk about church, too). Ask us about our dreams, which classes we hate, and what in the world Downton Abbey even is.
As hard as it may be to break through the phone-face barrier, that’s what students need (and want).
Students—women AND men—need to be shown, through a loving, intentional friendship, that we are valuable, that God loves us no matter who we are or what we do. But also that God’s plan is so much more fulfilling than a successful career, sex with no strings attached, or whatever The New York Times says we are doing.