LifeWay Christian Resources taps AU prof to revamp abstinence, sexual purity curriculum
Anderson University Distinguished Professor of Evangelism and well-known speaker Clayton King has been chosen by LifeWay Christian Resources to give new life to the most successful product the organization has ever released: True Love Waits.
Renamed The True Love Project, the material for young people designed to inspire them to live a life of sexual purity and abstinence until marriage, will be available on December 15, 20 years after the groundbreaking True Love Waits movement began impacting thousands of lives worldwide. King worked with his wife Sharie on the modern version of the curriculum, which he says will give young people practical help in navigating through today’s hyper-sexualized culture, a culture that has far more dangers and pressures than existed 20 years ago.
“We’re changing the name,” Clayton said. “We’re changing the focus. We are still going to talk about sexual purity, but we’re also going to focus more on sexual health.”
With the goal of reaching the next generation with relevant information relating to sexual purity, King’s message will also include topics such as forgiveness, sexual abuse, pornography, and how to establish and maintain sexual purity in a hyper-sexualized culture.
“We’re going to talk more about making wise choices at a younger age and also about receiving God’s grace and God’s forgiveness if you have made mistakes,” King said. “We’re going to deal a lot with pornography because it is such an epidemic now among the younger generation. So we’re dealing with the same temptations that I think I dealt with 20 years ago when I was a teenager, but those temptations are more evident and they are much more accessible than they used to be.”
King says he was surprised and humbled that he would be the first choice by the giant Christian retailer to recreate the material, that is, until he found out how his name came up in a LifeWay meeting.
When King flew to Nashville, Tennessee, earlier this year to discuss the project with the LifeWay development team, he learned that LifeWay Vice President Eric Geiger had been impacted by a message King delivered during the peak of the True Love Waits movement many years ago.
“When I was 20 years old and a student at Gardner-Webb, there was a church in Louisiana that brought me in to speak on the issues of sexual purity and abstinence until marriage,” King explained.
In the audience that night, King learned, was Geiger, then just a teenager. “He told me that God really convicted him through my message that he needed to give total control of his life to Christ, that he needed to straighten some things up in the area of relationships, and that he needed to practice sexual purity because he was a Christian,” King recalled. Geiger’s life path led him to pursue his doctorate, become a pastor and author, and eventually, a vice president at LifeWay.
When the president of LifeWay, Thom Rainer, was discussing the re-release of the True Love Waits material, he asked his team to offer suggestions on who should be contacted to write the curriculum. Geiger raised his hand and told them the story of what had happened to him as a result of King’s message in Louisiana more than 20 years ago. Without hesitation, Rainer replied, “Go get him.”
The True Love Project is an eight-session video-driven Bible study for all students. It focuses on how the gospel—as it leads to lasting heart change and transformation—is what serves as the catalyst for sexual purity in our lives. Students will take a look at how the world’s distorted view of sex compares with God’s true design for it. They’ll learn that sexual abstinence is centered in a desire to honor and please God as a result of spiritual transformation and not just behavior modification.
King is the founder and president of Crossroads Worldwide and Clayton King Ministries. He began his public speaking career at age 14 and has preached the Gospel to over three million people in 35 countries and 45 states. He serves as teaching pastor at NewSpring Church in Anderson, South Carolina. He is also a Distinguished Professor of Evangelism at Anderson University and has authored eight books. He and his wife Sharie live in North Carolina with their two sons, Jacob and Joseph.