We officially and publicly ordained Tanner Albright yesterday as our new full-time youth minister here at Central. It was a great day for Tanner and his family. I am so privileged to be serving with Tanner as co-workers in our Lord, so blessed to be his partner, so it was a great day for me, too. And because of what God has done through Tanner and what he is continuing to do with and through Tanner, it was a great day for the Central church family.
Adam and Tanner just concluded a teaching series for our Middle School and High School students and their parents that took a truly wholistic approach to sexuality. It was called “Good Sex,” a provocative title to be sure. But the classes were about so much more than just sex.
Our youth ministers and volunteers presented the ideas of purity and sex in the larger context of discipleship to Jesus. Yes, seeking to live a life in pursuit of Christ means being holy in matters of sex. But it’s not just sex; it’s everything. Holy living, following Jesus, means being righteous and pure in all we do. It was a very Sermon on the Mount approach to living in Christ. It’s not just about the sex act itself; it’s just as much about other things we might do or say that are not submissive to Jesus as our King.
And you might get that in a lot of youth programs on sexuality. The thing that made this series really different, though, is the white-hot spotlight it put on the parents. The adults were challenged every week to be pure in their own sexuality, to take captive every thought, to submit everything to the Lordship of Jesus. Even as married adults, most of us struggle to maintain this purity in the things we think about, the things we look at and watch, the relationships we maintain, or the language we use. I told the kids and their parents at the closing ceremony last week, it doesn’t get any easier when you’re married. It’s just as difficult to be pure, it’s just as tough to be righteous.
Ah, the ceremony. This past Wednesday night. Another fabulous job by Adam and Tanner. All the teens and their parents down in the community room to celebrate the past couple of months and to make solemn vows to one another, to themselves, and to our God to seek purity, not only in their (our) sexuality, but in all facets of their (our) lives of discipleship to Christ.
We promised to be a real family to one another. We promised to protect and defend one another, to support and encourage, to correct and discipline one another as we follow Jesus together. As church leaders, we promised these teens and their families that Central will always be a place (and a people) where we can talk and pray openly about anything and everything. We promised that Central will always be where one can find forgiveness, acceptance, and accountability.
Adam wrote a beautiful set of vows that we recited together. You can access those vows by clicking here.
We worshiped together, we exchanged gifts and prayers with our children, and we expressed our love and commitment to one another and to our Lord.
It was just perfect. We need more of this, not less. Excellent job Adam and Tanner. Thank you so much. I’m so blessed by our Father to work alongside you.
Whitney, Valerie, and Carley,
You are our precious daughters whom we love and in whom we are well pleased. You are no longer little girls. You are beautiful young ladies. And we can’t wait to see what our Lord has planned for you. Your mother and I want you to know how important you are to us and to God. You are beautiful, beloved, and worthy. We want to bless you with the promises of God. You belong to God and have been set apart from the world for his holy purposes. We want to bless you with God’s everlasting love, wisdom, peace, and joy. We also want to bless you with sexual purity and marital faithfulness.
We pray every day for our God’s hand to be present in your lives. May you faithfully serve our Lord Jesus Christ. And may he bless you richly with his mercy and strength.
We love you dearly and are so proud of you.
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