Ashleigh Hull argues that we are letting our young people down if we don’t talk about what matters to them.

The world has plenty to say about sexuality and gender.

It proclaims that these elements of human experience are integral to your identity, and that in order to live your best, most fulfilled life you must explore them, figure out which categories and labels you belong to, and then live those out.

The world tells us that sex itself is just play for adults, and that as long as everyone consents then acting out our desires is right, good and healthy.

The world tells us that gender is less a static fact and more a state that’s subject to change – whether that’s a single move from one end of a spectrum to the other, or a more fluid experience that ebbs and flows around the centre line. Wherever we find ourselves on that spectrum, though, our actions and our bodies should be expressing this inner experience.

I think that we should all be asking a very important question of these things the world is saying…

Are they true?

For us as Christians, truth is not something that we define for ourselves or that can be found within. Truth is what God says. Truth is what the Bible teaches. And when we come to the Bible, we find something very different to what the world says.

This post is aimed at youth leaders, because we are in a key position of influence in young people’s lives. What we teach – or don’t teach – in our youth groups is incredibly important. So my question to youth leaders as you read on is – do your young people know this?




Sex Matters

According to the Bible, both sex and sexuality are important. Where the world would use sexuality to define who we are, the Bible teaches that sexuality shows us something of who God is. Where the world would say that you are obligated to act on your sexual desires in order to be fulfilled, the Bible teaches that sex points to the only one who truly fulfils us.

The story of the Bible is that of a God who faithfully, passionately loves his people forever. We see the beauty and glory of this love that we were made for. We see our own betrayal and the heartbreak we cause our Lover. We see the lengths to which he will go to win us back. We see the end of the story – when, finally, Jesus is married to his bride, the Church, and we are fully restored to the loving relationship we were always meant to enjoy.

Sex and marriage are meant to point us to this greater story. They are a picture, a metaphor, for the love of God for us. In them, we are meant to see echoes of God’s faithfulness to us, his passionate desire for us and the intimacy he wants to share with us.

Do your young people know this?




Identity Matters

Where do we go to figure out who we are?

The world would point us within. Look inside and find your truth, we’re told. Increasingly, gender is understood to be a key part of this.

But the Bible gives us a different answer. We are created beings, defined by our relation to our Creator. He is the one who gives us our identity. To figure out who we are, we don’t look inside – we look to him. This is wonderful news. The identity he gives us is far better than any we could forge for ourselves.

The world’s view of identity centres us. We become the main character in our own stories. But the biblical story centres God, not us. It shows us that ultimately, the most important question is not who am I – but who is he?

Do your young people know this?


Teaching Matters

The world has plenty to say on these subjects, and it is speaking loudly. As youth leaders, we must be speaking too. We must teach our young people what the Bible has to say about sexuality and gender. The Bible has better answers, a better story, than the world can offer. If we do not teach our young people these things – how will they know them?

We also need to counter some of the messages young people are hearing from the world and help them to think critically about those. We need to help them learn to think about and question what they hear. We need to equip them so they are not conformed to the ways of this world but transformed by the renewal of their mind.

Perhaps you agree that all of this is important, but you feel ill-equipped to do it justice.

That’s why we’ve launched the Living Out Youth Leader Network, an initiative aimed at equipping youth leaders to help young people navigate questions of faith and sexuality. Members receive email and video updates include answers to your questions, key resources, upcoming training events, and more.

Find out more and sign up for free at