Many sins are committed in secret—even by the most faithful of church-attending families. Church leaders work to steer congregants away from sin, but an array of new technologies tempts families through convenient gateways to pornography, online sexting or inappropriate reading materials.

Pastors know that hidden sins are a barrier between Christians and God. They know their congregations are reeling from pornography, cohabitation outside marriage and inappropriate sex. They know that gender confusion and same-sex “marriage” can pervade any congregation. They also know that a return to the moralism of the previous century is not the solution. 

Richard Ross’ Pure Hearts at Home movement embraces a God of grace and second chances. Ross, professor of student ministry at Southwestern Seminary and a co-founder of the True Love Waits movement, encourages churches to wash away impurities through a rebirth of Christ within souls—an epiphany in the name of Jesus. For change to occur, he says, impurity must be replaced by something more powerful: “a personal awakening to the supreme majesty of King Jesus.”

“According to research performed by the Barna Group in 2016, 57 percent of pastors and 64 percent of youth pastors have struggled with pornography usage at some point,” Ross says. “One can only imagine how large the percentages are among church dads and sons. And surprisingly, 56 percent of women under 25 seek out pornography, and 27 percent of young adults first view pornography before puberty.

“I think pastors know that sexual impurity is common in their churches, but most are not sure how to deal with the issue. Ninety-three percent of pastors report having no programs in the church to help those who struggle with issues such as these.” 

Ross suggests that dedicating a Sunday to this pivotal issue makes sense. “Pure Hearts at Home is a movement among Christ-followers to move toward sexual purity in the power of the Spirit for the glory of God,” he says. “The movement embraces grace, joy and adoration, and sidesteps moralism and legalism.” 

“These days, lots of church leaders are saying, ‘We champion the family, and we call parents to be the spiritual leader in their homes,’” says Ross. “Pure Hearts at Home provides a way to turn theory into action. This movement gives parents something concrete they can do to lead their children. And, the movement provides very specific guidance so they will know exactly what to say and do.”

Churches that join the Pure Hearts at Home movement can invite Ross to speak, or they can order resources and plan for local leaders to do the preaching and teaching. Pure Hearts at Home encourages family members to pray and study together, encourage one another and watch one another’s backs. It affirms the goodness of sex but presents it within a God-intended framework that imbues it with meaning and value. And, Ross says, it gives believing dads the lead role with their families—and cheers on single moms who must stand in the gap.

“The True Love Waits movement spread to 100 denominations and national student organizations in the U.S. and then spread to 100 nations worldwide,” Ross says. “Teenagers were tremendously encouraged and empowered as they moved together under the same True Love Waits banner. In the same way, I think churches and families will be very encouraged as they link arms with mushrooming numbers of other believers across the country who are standing for purity [through Pure Hearts at Home].”

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