Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will.Romans 12:1-2
When the apostle Paul penned these words to first-century Christians, the “pattern of the world” he referred to wasn’t pretty. It was a mosaic of idolatry, pride, selfishness, sexual immorality (including homosexuality), self-glory, ingratitude, greed, deceit, envy, drunkenness, hatred—and all other manner of deviation from God’s good plan for humanity.
Sound familiar? The “pattern of this world” the early Roman Christians battled is still a reality for our teenagers (and us). And the key to nonconformity is the same now as it was then:
…be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
Part of our calling as leaders is to assist those in our charge in this transformation. It starts, of course, with pointing them to the Gospel—the good news of the forgiveness of our sins and eternal life with God when we put our trust in Christ. From there, it’s a lifelong process of sanctification—becoming more like Jesus as we obey the indwelling Spirit and saturate our minds with God’s Word.
One of the toughest worldly “patterns” for our students to shed is our culture’s thinking on gender identity and sexual orientation. The world’s ideas have even permeated much of the Church, leading to confusion and conflict—especially when younger generations are part of the conversation.
Because of this, it’s tempting as leaders to avoid these hot-button issues. But if we don’t disciple our teens in these areas, the world will. To equip your students to think biblically about LBGTQ topics, we encourage you to take them through Hard Questions: Examining gender, sexuality, and identity through a Gospel lens. This four-week curriculum will help your teenagers understand God’s love for all people, the reasons for the boundaries He’s given us, and the richness of our identity in Christ.
The series’ 60-minute sessions also prepare students to engage in conversations with their peers about these issues and to share the Good News of Jesus with others—no matter their gender identity or sexual orientation—in a loving way, wisely balancing conviction and compassion.
Sin first entered the world because Satan convinced Eve that God was holding out on her—that He wasn’t enough to meet all her needs. Many in our culture today are buying the same lie. The goal of Hard Questions is to peel back the curtain of deception and enable your students to “test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing, and perfect will”—and then to communicate that goodness to a world that desperately needs to hear it.
Whether you use Hard Questions or another Bible-based curriculum or just teach straight from God’s Word, I urge you to help your teenagers renew their minds regarding gender identity and sexual orientation—and watch their transformation unfold!