Pastor J.D. gives parents some helpful guidelines for navigating conversations about sexual identity with their kids.

A glimpse inside this episode:

This is an excellent question, and one that more and more pastors, specifically, need to be equipped to answer. I am still learning how to navigate questions like this, and I’ve been incredibly thankful for Brad Hambrick, the counseling pastor at the Summit, for teaching me how to think through this not only theologically, but also pastorally.

  • From the beginning of my ministry, I decided that if I could preach like anyone, I wanted to preach like a counselor.
  • You can check out his website for a lot more helpful resources: bradhambrick.com

Now, when talking with kids about “sexual identity,” here are a handful of ideas, most of which I’ve borrowed from Brad:

  • 1. “The talk” is different today than it was for us growing up. By that, I mean a couple things.
    • First, kids aren’t just going to be curious about sex (which is pretty universal). But as our society’s views about gender identity evolve, our kids will be exposed to different ideas than perhaps we’ve ever heard.
    • Second, statistics tells us they will be exposed to sexual ideas way earlier than most of us were. For most of us, we need to have these discussions earlier than we’d expect.
  • 2. When our kids bring up a potentially awkward subject, we shouldn’t over-react.
      • This is true whether your kid is asking about gender identity for himself, for someone else, or just out of curiosity. Your initial response to your kids signals whether you are someone they can or should approach with these questions.
  • 3. We need to talk about sex and sexuality proactively, not just reactively.
      • If the only times we talk with our kids about sex is when they approach us, it will distort the biblical message about sexual ethics. Questions about sexuality and gender identity will start on the wrong foot if we let culture dictate the sorts of things our kids are asking us.
  • 4. Be sure to ask as much as you teach.
      • When your kid asks you about sex—especially when they’re younger, say elementary school—the most important part of that conversation will be what you learn from them (not vice versa).
  • 5. We want our kids to be biblically informed and personally compassionate.
    • We don’t have to agree with someone or understand their experience to love them. We believe that everyone is made in the image of God and deserves our honor and respect.If they’re hurting, we try to represent God’s compassion. If they’re sinning, we let them know of God’s forgiveness through the gospel. If we’re not sure, we listen and ask questions.