Since the passage of New York’s extreme laws, abortion has become a hot topic. The topic has become even more heated since the release of the film “Unplanned.” There is no doubt that students in your youth group have seen or engaged with at least some information on the topic lately whether through social media, parents or peers.
Being pro-life, it is easy to preach and teach on the sanctity of human life. In fact, in Southern Baptist life we have a whole calendar date dedicated to the topic. With approximately 10 percent of abortions being teens and over 30 percent being college and young adults, we must stop and ask ourselves if we are handling the topic appropriately.
Here are some keys to handling the topic of abortion in our youth groups:
1. Be faithful to Scripture.
Teach what the Bible says first and foremost. Scripture is clear that life begins in the womb and that God is in control of the womb (Genesis 30:22, Psalm 22:10, Psalm 139:13, Luke 1:41). While there is sometimes a need for a one-on-one discussion of the semantics and science regarding birth control, try not to muddy the waters with facts and details that distract from the sovereignty of God over all life.
2. Make issues of sexuality a common topic in your youth group.
We cannot effectively handle the issue of abortion unless we first address the issue of sexual sin. Using murder to cover sexual sin is not new. Remember David sent Bathsheba’s husband to the front lines of war. When students understand the theology of sex — why God made it and how to use it — they can begin to grasp the importance of purity. When they understand God’s elevated view of sex, they will also see that the consequences of sexual sin are often great.
3. Teach in a redemptive tone.
When we talk regularly about sexual sin, we must remember that, in the words of Paul, “such were some of you.” We must often reinforce that God has a redemption plan. The hope is that when we provide a place for honest conversation and confession, the need to cover sin with more sin will lessen. This is true of all sin. Sexual sin has a particularly secret nature so the need to speak of redemption is great. For every mention of sin, we should mention salvation and sanctification along with it.
4. Pray regularly for an end to abortion.
We are in great danger of forgetting that “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12, NIV). Pray in your private prayers that God will move in regards to this issue, but lead students to pray for it as well. Pray that God will soften a generation’s heart to the issue and that the powers of the dark would not be able to convince our students that abortion is our right.
5. Be proactive.
It is always a good ministry practice to build a relationship with a counselor or several. Have an action plan in place for when a teenager tells you they or their girlfriend are pregnant or have had an abortion. Knowing that you have a plan to provide help will speak volumes about your belief that God is a loving God. If a student feels as though coming to you will make you disown them or will shock you, they are less likely to come. Reach out to the Alabama Baptist Children’s Homes & Family Ministries for a list of Pathways Professional Counseling resources in your area.