Teens, Movies, and Sex

I recently ran across a Fox News article that appeared on the Youth Culture Report. In a nut shell this is what the article says:

A new study has found that sex scenes in movies have an impact on the sexual behavior of teens who watch them.

The article goes on to say the following:

Those who had been exposed to the most sexual content in movies had become sexually active at younger ages and were more likely to engage in risky behavior, the study reported.

You can click here to read the rest of the article. Basically the article explains that research shows that teens who are exposed to sexual scenes in movies are more likely to participate in sexual activities. Before I go on, let me just say, this is research and research is not always perfect. Just because a teen sees sexual scenes in movies does not mean they will defiantly participate in sexual activities. But research does reveal some truth and trends. This research shows that teens who are exposed to sexual scenes are more likely to participate in sexual activities at a young age.

So how do student pastors, youth workers, and parents respond to something like this? How should this affect the way we watch movies as well as how we direct our teens to watch movies? Here are some thoughts I would like to share with fellow student pastors as well as parents.

1. Filter the movies you watch with God’s Word. Teens need to understand that God’s Word is relevant to every part of their life, even movies. Not only teens, but adults need to filter the movies they watch through God’s Word. Here are two verses that should help you with this. In Psalm 101:3, the Psalmists says that he “will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless.” Probably one of the best verses to help you filter movies through God’s Word is Philippians 4:8. Paul tells us to think on things that are  true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellence, and worthy of praise. God expects us to watch movies Biblically.

2. Don’t trust the movie ratings. This has been something that has bothered me for a long time. Christian parents and teens determine what movies they will or will not watch based on its rating. The problem with that is movie ratings are established mostly by non-Christians and in a non-Christian industry. So why should we think movie ratings help us make Biblical choices on what movies we will watch? Don’t get me wrong, ratings do help us make wise choices, but God’s Word is a higher authority and is more relevant to a Christian teen than the movie rating.

3. Parents, youth workers, and student pastors need to be consistent in their movie watching. Many times parents and student pastors encourage teens to not watch certain movies, but then they watch those movies themselves because they are more “mature.” I’m guilty of this myself. My prayer is that God will help me be consistent in my teaching and conduct of life. If I believe a certain movie is not wise for a Christian teen to watch, than I should think very carefully before I watch it. We need to keep consistent standards.

These are just three things that I have been thinking through in response to this article and research. Please don’t think I am going all “legalistic” about this, because I am not. I am thankful the Gospel frees us from legalism and in Christ we have freedom. Movies and Christians is a broad subject that is not a simple “black and white” issue. It’s an area we need to follow the Holy Spirit’s direction and be discerning based on the principles revealed in God’s Word.

My Favorite iPhone Apps for Student Ministry

I’m always on the lookout for new apps to use in student ministry. There are a ton of apps out there, but there are some that are great for student pastors that will come in handy for your ministry. I wanted to share my favorite iPhone apps that I use regularly in my student ministry.

Youth Culture Report. One of the things I am always doing as a student pastor is keeping up with the current teen culture. I try to keep an eye on current trends as well as what is happening in the life of teenagers around the world. I do believe every student pastors need to be students of teen culture. This is why I love this app! On the Youth Culture Report app, you will find tons of links to blogs and articles about current teen culture. It’s simple and easy to use. This is an app every student pastor needs to have on their iPhone. By the way, they are relaunching this soon and it will be even better!

Group TextThe best way to send out reminders to students is via text messaging. Because of that, I use text messages to promote events, send out reminders, and to just connect with students. Most of the time I send out promo’s and reminders as a large group text using the app “Group Text.” This is a great app I was introduced to by my friend Josh Evans who uses it with his students. It allows you to create lists and then send out a mass text to whatever list you want. I have a list for my students, leaders, and parents.

DropboxI absolutely love Dropbox! Dropbox allows you to keep files in a cloud that can synced between all your devices. For example, the files in my Dropbox are synced between my iPhone, iPad, and Macbook. Awhile back I wrote a post about using Dropbox in ministry that will help you see how I use Dropbox in my ministry (Click here to view that post). It’s a nice app to have if you have important files you want at your fingertips at all times. I keep all my files for our student ministry in my Dropbox so I can access them whenever I want on what device is infront of me. This also allows me to back up those files and not have to worry about loosing them.

EvernoteEvernote works the same as Dropbox, but is notes instead of files. I use Evernote a lot when it comes to meetings and reminders. If I need to take quick notes during a meeting with my leaders, parents, or senior pastor, I can take them in Evernote on my iPad and open them up later on my iPhone or Macbook. What is so great about Evernote is that your notes can be text, audio, or even an image. There are some great posts about using Evernote in student ministry, but here is one I would recommend you taking a look at.

InstagramBy far one of the most popular iPhone apps out there is instagram. But instagram is a great app to have if you’re a student pastor! It’s a great way to take quick pictures of your students, events, and trips and post them to Twitter or Facebook so other students and parents can see them.

There are a few more apps such as Twitter and Facebook that are self-explanatory that I use daily in student ministry. The ones I mentioned are one you may have not heard of that I think are “must haves” for student pastors. What iPhone apps do you use most in student ministry?