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Churches, teens can help with True Love Waits 1999 goals

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Recent government surveys have found that sexual activity among teens is declining, and while True Love Waits officials don’t presume to take all the credit, they’ll take some.
“Although True Love Waits is not the only player in the sexual abstinence movement, it has had a tremendous impact on many young lives,” said Jimmy Hester, co-coordinator of True Love Waits for LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.
The percentage of teenagers who have had sex has declined for the first time in 20 years, according to a study by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention division).
The study found the percentage of sexually active high school students, age 15 to 19, fell from 54 percent to 48 percent from 1991-97. The decreases in sexual activity were more significant among males, white and black. Young women and Hispanics have not altered their behavior as much.
Birth rates among 10- to 15-year-olds dropped 12 percent during the same period. The report is based on new analysis of surveys involving more than 10,000 students from 1991-97.
True Love Waits, created in April 1993 by LifeWay, has become a worldwide campaign designed to challenge teenagers to make a promise to God to abstain from sex until they enter a biblical marriage relationship. In 1994, more than 211,000 True Love Waits cards covered the National Mall in Washington, and in 1996, more than 350,000 cards were stacked to the roof of the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.
In October 1999, TLW officials hope to see a national display of cards on the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. “Crossing Bridges with Purity” is the True Love Waits theme for 1999-2000.
True Love Waits goals for 1999 are:
— Friday, Feb. 12, community display. During the months of January and February 1999, students will conduct local campaigns challenging their peers to sign commitment cards to remain sexually abstinent until marriage. On Feb. 12, schools, local churches and community organizations will come together to make a joint display at a focal place in the community.
— Spring and summer 1999, state display. Cards from community displays will be sent to a central point in the state for a statewide display during spring and summer.
— Oct. 2, 1999, national display. Cards from each state display will be sent to San Francisco for a national display on Oct. 2, 1999. Plans include carrying the cards from all over America across the Golden Gate Bridge.
— December 1999, international display. Cards from all of the state displays in the United States and cards from other countries will be sent to New Zealand to be displayed together near the International Date Line (where the year 2000 will first arrive). The international display will represent students around the world poised to move into a new era of history with a commitment to moral purity.
“I hope Christians around the world will join to praise God for what he is doing in the lives of today’s young people, and how they are challenging our society’s moral standards, uplifting and modeling godly character,” Hester said.
A “True Love Waits Manual 1999-2000: Crossing Bridges with Purity” is available by calling 1-800-458-2772. The 96-page manual includes complete information about creating community and state displays, relating to local media, creating True Love Waits rallies and events, and getting cards to national and international displays.
For questions regarding True Love Waits, call 1-800-LUV-WAIT or e-mail [email protected] or visit the web site at truelovewaits.com.
CORRECTION: In (BP) story, “Hefley honored at banquet as a courageous Baptist journalist,” dated 10/23/98, please make the following corrections:
In the 6th paragraph, beginning “Greetings from …” please remove the words “videotape from.”
In the 14th paragraph, remove the end quotes at the end of the sentence beginning with,”Advocating … .” That is a paraphrase.
In the 23rd paragraph, remove the quotation marks from home-based garage warehouse.
Baptist Press