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When the advertising campaign for your Church is considered to racy for secular elementary schools, then maybe it's time to change focus. After all, isn't one of the goals of the Church to have the world transformed by the power of the Gospel, and not the culture conforming the Church to it.
Listen, I know sex sells, and for me to push those old-fashioned ideas of preaching the law and Gospel from the pulpit in place of "the most righteous sexual positions", or some such nonsense, is just not going to get through to the un-churched crowd and their "felt needs" the way sex can. However, shouldn't we trust God with the means of His Word and Sacrament to meet the ultimate need, the need for eternal life?
Special Offering--Sex--Puts Church At Risk
by: Rick Neale -Florida Today- 4-25-09
MELBOURNE -- Sermons about sex -- and advertisements depicting sockless feet snuggling between bedsheets -- have landed a church in hot water with Brevard Public Schools officials.
The school district's risk-management department has threatened to boot New Hope Church out of Sherwood Elementary, its new home for Sunday services.
Why? A worship series titled "Great Sex for You."
Last week, church leaders mailed 25,000 colorful fliers to Melbourne households, asking residents "Is Your Sex Life A Bore?" and inviting them to go to the school to "learn how to have the Great Sex that God created you to enjoy!"
The three-week program kicked off Sunday morning inside the school auditorium. Seated on stage in black jeans and an untucked collared shirt, Bible in hand, Pastor Bruce Cadle said the Christian church has been "shamefully silent" on the typically taboo topic.
"Sex between married believers is a holy activity. It's not a dirty activity. It's not a shameful activity," Cadle preached. "It's a holy activity. And the Bible is so clear about this. But it's still hard for us to get it."
But Mark Langdorf, the school district's director of risk management, said the "Great Sex for You" mailers generated complaints. He described the controversy as "obnoxious and inimical to the best interests of the school board."
"We believe the type of advertising used is not appropriate for students to read in any elementary school," Langdorf said. "If it is inappropriate for the students, then it should not be used to advertise any event held at an elementary school in Brevard County."
Cadle said Langdorf threatened to terminate the church's lease agreement. The church rents the auditorium and one classroom for $606 each Sunday, records show.
However, Langdorf said the contract remains under review.
"At present, no decision has been made as to the church's future use of Sherwood Elementary School," Langdorf said. "The question as to the revocation of use is presently under consideration."
New Hope Church is located on Post Road, right across the street from Sherwood Elementary. Formerly operated as Sherwood Park Baptist Church, this aging yellow structure's sanctuary can accommodate only 160 people, Cadle said.
Facing a capacity crunch, the ministry conducted its first Sunday service at Sherwood Elementary on March 29. Two weeks later, an Easter service drew 426 worshippers.
Last week, church leaders mailed the "Great Sex for You" fliers to residents within a 3-mile radius. These fliers also were distributed in FLORIDA TODAY as advertising inserts.
Sherwood Elementary personnel received six complaints, Langdorf said -- including a church member who apologized. The district office received one complaint.
Cadle said his church received one phone complaint, one in-person complaint and three online complaints.
But 23 newcomers attended Sunday's service, he wrote on his blog.
"Having grown up with a Christian mother and a Christian father and going to church every Sunday of my life as a kid, I grew up with the wrong perspective. I thought sex was dirty. I thought it was something you hid. I thought it was something you didn't talk about," Cadle preached Sunday.
"If we could be really honest, I think each and every one of us would say, 'I want a rich and satisfying life. I want a great sex life.' But it doesn't come from following Cosmo magazine. It comes from following the word of God. God is not against sex. It doesn't have to be boring. It doesn't have to be a chore. It doesn't have to be a drag -- if we do it God's way," he said.
New Hope Church also is offering "Exposed! The Naked Truth About Sex," a teaching series for middle and high school students. These Sunday evening sermons take place on church property, not the elementary school.