Pastor Darren Walter doesn't shy away from talking about sex on Sundays. In fact he moved a bed onto his pulpit stage as a backdrop for a six-part sermon series he is giving on passion, pleasure and purity. That's boosted attendance -- and, he says, sex and Sunday sermons mix just fine.
“I think for so long many churches viewed sex as taboo,” Walter, 42, of Current Christian Church, a nondenominational church in Katy, Texas, told International Business Times. “I think we did a real disservice by leaving it out.”
Walter is halfway through the series of six sermons, the first of which drew the church’s second-highest attendance in its 30-year history with roughly 1,440 people, vs. the usual 1,300 or so congregants attending on an average Sunday, Walter said.
The series, entitled “Sex Was God’s Idea,” includes discussions on the biblical roots of intimacy, how to talk about sex with children and maintaining a healthy sex life in marriage. Touchier topics like Internet pornography, sexual addiction and homosexuality (which the church does not endorse) are brought up as well.
“We’re not going to be terribly graphic,” Walter said about the sermons. “Our intention was not to offend or be crass. Our intention was to deal with the topic as directly and as honestly from the Bible as we can.”
Walter says some people see God and sex in two different spaces: one holy, the other dirty. “Let’s clear up the misperception that God and the topic of sex should not be discussed in same sentence,” Walter said.
As a pastor, he has seen this in practice when parishioners ask him questions about sex, such as “Is it okay to enjoy this?”
“Of course the answer is yes,” Walter said. “I think to some degree it’s helpful to go over why God created this.”
And it’s not just adults who are curious. Walter says he has seen parents bring their preteens and teenagers to the sermons as a way to broach the topic with them later.
“It gives parents a springboard to have conversation with kids afterwards,” he said, adding that sex is bound to come up. However, the sermon isn’t necessarily meant to teach parents how to do “The Talk.”
“’The Talk’ is not supposed to be one conversation everyone dreads. It’s supposed to happen 100 times,” Walter said, referring to images children are exposed to on TV, the Internet and among friends.
As part of the series, Walter has offered to host a free wedding ceremony on Valentine’s Day to couples who have wanted to get married but held off for financial reasons.
“If that’s holding people back, let's remove that barrier,” Walter said, adding that he asked the couples to remain sexually pure between Feb. 1, the day he announced the offer, and Feb. 14. No sleeping in the same bed or even the same room, and no sex at all, Walter said.
While his sermons have attracted media attention, Walter says that was not his intention. Rather it was about bringing sex out in the open – the same way it is outside the church walls.
“It’s important to hear what God has to say on a topic people are talking about anyway,” Walter said.