Pastor's Sex Challenge For Congregation

The pastor of a Dallas-area mega-church challenged married congregants during his sermon Sunday to have sex for seven days in a row -- and says he's practicing what he preaches.

The Rev. Ed Young, 47, says he believes society promotes promiscuity, and he wants to reclaim sex for married couples. Sex should be a nurturing, spiritual act that strengthens marriages, he said.

"God says sex should be between a married man and a woman," Young says. "I think it's one of the greatest things you can do for your kids because so goes the marriage, so goes the family."

Young is founder of the Grapevine, Texas-based, nondenominational Fellowship Church, which draws about 20,000 people each Sunday and also has campuses in Dallas, Fort Worth and Plano, Texas.

Earlier this year, a southwest Florida pastor, perhaps having more faith in his congregants' stamina, issued a 30-day sex challenge.

Young said the seven days should begin this coming Sunday.

"The goal," Young told Early Show co-anchor Julie Chen Thursday, "is for the church to talk about sex, because, after all, God is the one who invented sex, and he tells us to do it, but he says to do it in marriage.

"And sex is really the super-glue, Julie -- I believe it's a real reflection of how the marriage is going, so I thought, 'Wouldn't it be cool if we could get 20,000 people having sex for seven straight days?' And I think some of the issues that you have to deal with prior to going to bed together, that's going to be the real take-home from this 'sex-periment' that we're doing."

The reaction from both congregants and the community, Young says, "has been overwhelmingly positive, because so many people are whining from the economy, and I thought, 'How do we change whining into whoopee?'

"We had guys who were texting their friends during the sermon, they were like. 'You've got to be here next week. You won't believe what's gonna happen!' So, it's been great.

"We've had a few people go, 'Man, I wonder why you're doing this,' or, 'That's kind of odd, talking about making love in church.' But, again, I think the church has allowed the culture to hijack sex from the church, and it's time that we moved the bed back in church and put God back in the bed, and I think we are the real sex-perts because, after all, we're made in God's image and he's the one who wants us to do it his way."

Young added, "Even my wife and I are going to do this. We've been married for 26 years and we have four kids, so I'm looking forward to it. It will be one of the greatest Thanksgivings ever!"

He's asked his parishioners to e-mail their thoughts and feelings during the week of sex and explained to Chen he thinks that will result in getting "some real issues out on the table. I think they'll deal with some forgiveness stuff, some maybe hurt feelings. I think there's a lot of stress and a lot of anxiety because of this tough time we're going through, and I think it will solidify a lot of marriages, and I think this sex-periment we're doing will be a launching pad to take many, many marriages to a whole 'nother level.

"We're gonna do a follow-up service where we actually read and talk about some of the responses, some of the feelings that the husbands and the wives are having, and we're going to get them to fill out in a little book and e-mail it."
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