New Church Resource Helps Youth Understand Sexual Identity Issues

NASHVILLE, Tenn. April 9, 2015 /Discipleship Ministries/ – A new resource to help youth struggling with their sexual identity, who are statistically more prone to suicide, is now available as part of the SEX: A Christian Perspective on Our Bodies, Decisions and Relationships series from Young People’s Ministries (YPM).

The “Hope and Self- Acceptance” module joins a growing list of resources from YPM, a unit of Discipleship Ministries of The United Methodist Church, that are aimed at helping middle school teens in the church grow in their understanding of sexuality as a good gift from God.

“We know that teens dealing with issues of sexual identity are two to six times more likely to attempt suicide because of issues of isolation and hopelessness,” said Michael Ratliff, Associate General Secretary at Discipleship Ministries and head of the YPM division. “ ‘Hope and Self-Acceptance’ seeks to communicate God’s love and acceptance of all as ‘precious,’ reflecting the message to the nation of Israel in Isaiah 43:1-7.”

The resource provides helpful theological background, leader notes and engaging learning activities and is designed to be used with younger youth in the sixth, seventh and eighth grades, Ratliff said. It is the result of discussions among the board of directors and staff of Discipleship Ministries. In particular, it addresses Petition 2121, which was initially adopted at the 2004 General Conference, but never practically addressed by conference delegates.

Other modules are being prepared on gender identity, language and sexuality and pornography, along with a four-session resource for high school-age youth similar in structure and content for the middle school youth, Ratliff said.

All of the resources connect sexuality with who we are as Christians. They are intended to strengthen relationships between youth and their adult leaders, to foster deep conversation during this experience and to provide the beginnings of conversations that go beyond this experience. The resources lend themselves to adaptation, and leaders are encouraged to choose activities and resources that connect in context with how their local church and community address topics of faith and sexuality.

Alternative learning activities, conversation starters, Bible study and worship ideas, and more are included with the resources.

For more information and to order the faith and sex downloadable resources and modules, go to

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