Silver Ring Thing (SRT), an international youth ministry that asks teens to begin their sexual decisions with an end goal in mind, will be at Warren Area High School with a live concert-style event at 6 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 14.
SRT has been to Warren before, and many who attended still feel the impact.
"I was 12 when I attended SRT," said Kayla Schwanke of Russell, now 16. "It was a few days before my 13th birthday."
Teens with their silver rings
Kayla has abstained from a sexual relationship because she feels it is important to "wait for the person that God has planned for me," she said. Although peer pressure surrounds teens, including Kayla, she said she hasn't felt any peer pressure about abstaining, and she holds strong to her belief.
So does April Casey of Warren, who saw SRT for the first time when she was 13 or 14.
"I believe that sex is a important commitment, especially emotionally, to another person, and that it should be shared only with your life partner," said April, who is now 23. Although she has grown to adulthood since she first saw the presentation, she holds firm in her belief. "I still believe that saving sex for marriage is physically beneficial, promotes feelings of positive self-worth, and it is extremely important for a couple's strength and commitment."
Unlike Kayla, April did experience some peer pressure for abstaining from sex.
"I abstained from sex throughout my teen years until adulthood, and it wasn't always easy," she explained. "Peer pressure was heightened in my junior and senior years of high school, when most other teens were beginning to engage in sexual activity and were more open about it. Even though many of my peers were engaging in sex, I was still confident in my decision to remain abstinent until adulthood, and I am very thankful today that I did."
Silver Ring Thing was a fun and exciting presentation," April said of the event. "Not only were the music and skits entertaining, but the entire experience itself was life-changing. The message was very deep, and I left the auditorium that night with a completely different view of sex, relationships, and my self-worth."
Kayla agrees. The "dynamic" presentation was "a lot of fun" and "very entertaining for all ages," Kayla remembered. "They do a really good job interacting with teens."
J. Maier, youth pastor at Warren First Church of the Nazarene, has seen teens changed by SRT.
"In over nine years of formal youth ministry I've consistently found that often teens (and even their parents) too narrowly define the concept of intimacy," Maier explained. "In fact, more often than not they will default to seeing/using this term as a "softer" way of speaking about sex. The problem is that God has a vision of wholeness for our relationships that are "intimate". As we grow closer together emotionally and spiritually we experience the fullness of intimacy and a true depth of relationship (this is the case for friendships as well). Honoring one another means protecting one another and looking out for the others best interest. It's this ground work and foundation in which we honor one another in such a way that we, upon marriage, can fully experience an understanding of a mutually sacrificial, serving, and submissive "one flesh" relationship that's emotional, spiritual, and physical. The Silver Ring Thing helps to bring an awareness to the real depth that God desires for our intimate relationships. It's a BIG conversation... an ongoing understanding... it's more important than simply having just 'the sex talk'!"
"When S.R.T. was last in Warren," Maier explained, "many students walked away from an event and into a reality where they began making lifestyle choices that not only affected themselves ... but helped create a culture shift in their schools and communities. Within a few short years we saw a surge in Christian teens who attended become active and key leaders inside and outside of their churches. As they desired to live out their wholeness in Christ in all areas of their life ... many perceptions were changed and they had profound influence among their peer group and community. It seemed it was as if all we (youth leaders) could do was try and keep up with what they were allowing God to do within them. I can't help but look back and see The Silver Ring Thing as a pivotal moment in many of their lives when more than a message of abstinence was heard... rather a message of purpose for every area of their lives. That they each have value, worth, and purpose and because of that they should treat one another as such!"
The Rewind Tour will explain how and why a decision to save sex for marriage can benefit students. As the risks of sexual promiscuity steadily increase, how can premarital or frequent casual sex still be considered "healthy" or "normal" sexual behavior? SRT is a voice of hope and encouragement to those who are waiting for marriage and offers a second chance to those tired of playing Russian roulette with their sex lives.
The SRT Tour Team, a group of 20-somethings from across the U.S., encourages students to control their bodies and hold out for something better: sexual intimacy within the bonds of marriage. During a high-energy, action packed event, tour team members share their stories of success, failure, forgiveness and hope using skits, humor, drama, commercial parodies and personal testimonies.
Tickets are $7 online or $10 at the door, and an optional ring will be available for $20. There will be a parent's session beginning at 6 p.m., which is designed to help parents support their child's decision. (Discounts available for groups of 25 or more for early, online registration.)