The Yearly XP3 Rhythms: Why We Talk About Dating and Sex in The Spring

If you’re an XP3 subscriber, February marks our transition into the Spring 2016 curriculum season. And this season both middle school and high school have a series about every student pastor’s favorite topic – sexuality. For XP3HS we named the series DATEABLE, and for XP3MS the series is called THE TALK. The titles give you an idea of the phase- appropriate direction we take with each series. But the content is not the only intentional aspect of each series – so is the timing.

With the DATEABLE series, our suggested dates are January 31-February 21. That’s because we know that when the Spring semester rolls around, most high school students are only thinking about one thing – dating. Should they be focusing on that chemistry grade or on completing those college applications? Probably. But the reality is that the Spring semester brings a new set of priorities to every teenager’s mind, particularly Valentine’s Day, Spring Break and prom season. Our DATEABLE series is intended to reach high school students right before the weather warms up and the birds and the bees start flying. That way students are equipped to make wise decisions throughout the Spring, which they had the opportunity to discuss beforehand in their small group.

On the other hand, we gave our middle school series, THE TALK, suggested dates of April 3-April 24, the very last XP3MS series of the Spring 2016 season. Why so late in the school year? The reason is simple… April is typically right before current fifth graders are promoted as new sixth graders into a middle school environment. Think about it – in April your current sixth graders have spent nearly a full year in middle school. They have spent two semesters wandering the halls and watching eighth graders interact with the opposite sex. And at some point in their health class, they were given “THE TALK”. They are no doubt realizing that middle school is very different from elementary school. Then, as they’re starting to notice these changes – starting to mature – we introduce the subject of sexuality with THE TALK series.

Could you imagine a brand new sixth grader in your ministry environment hearing a talk about sexuality their first week after being promoted to middle school? Not ideal. Can you imagine a high school student hearing the powerful truth in DATEABLE right after a regrettable prom night? Heartbreaking. The timing of a series is important to consider. Joshua Harris said it this way, “The right thing at the wrong time is the wrong thing.” Our book, It’s Just A Phase, says it this way, “It’s your job to teach the most important things in the phase when they matter most.” Keyword: when.

Orange Conference 2018