With the news yesterday of the Supreme Court striking down the "Defense Of Marriage Act", the topic of "Gay Marriage" is once again a major story in the news. No doubt, our kids are hearing all about this topic both on the TV and, many times, on the playground. It's hard for a Christian parent to control the context in which their child may have conversations regarding this important topic.
I received a question yesterday from a fellow Kids Pastor asking my opinion on whether or not he should "address" his Kids Ministry on the topic of Gay Marriage and/or Homosexuality in general. I gave him my opinion, so I thought I would share it with you here - in case there were others who were wrestling with this same question.
In short, my answer is, "No."
I think you have to be careful what issues you are addressing "as a group." So many children are at different parts of the journey regarding both mental and emotional maturity. When you address something as serious as homosexuality and gay marriage to a large group of kids, it is very difficult to do so in a way that is appropriate for EVERY child.
In addition, many parents (as they should) want to be THE ones to discuss topics such as this with their kids. I understand, many parents DON'T ever discuss it with their kids. That's unfortunate. However, you don't want to undercut parents by addressing it publicly in a large group of kids. This should be something that parents include in their general talks about "sexuality" with their kids.
Of course, if a child asks you a direct question about it - treat that just like you do any other question about sex or sexuality. Answer with, "I would be happy to share my thoughts with you about this subject. Let's talk to Mom or Dad when they come to pick you up. Perhaps together, we can answer your questions in a healthy way." Then, follow the cues of the parent. If they do not wish to discuss it right then and there, follow their lead. Allow them to do so on their own terms and in their own timing.
An alternative to discussing this with the large group is to offer a special class or "discussion" in which you allow parents to sign their kids up to attend. Allow parents to attend with their children if they wish. Rather than coming at the topic in a negative manner (i.e. "We are AGAINST gay marriage", etc.), discuss the topic within the overall umbrella of God's plan for our sexuality ("God created male and female to complement one another. Marriage is the life-long commitment between one man and one woman.").
The topic of "gay marriage" and "homosexuality" is a difficult one. It is polarizing. While we don't ever shy away from the truth, we also must be wise and careful when dealing with the youngest among us. We want clarity, not confusion.
Do you agree? Disagree? Do you plan to address it as a larger group? In small group time? I welcome your thoughts.