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LifeWay Films has released its third new documentary of movements of God. True Love Waits: The Complicated Struggle for Sexual Purity critically examines the success and controversy surrounding the True Love Waits movement.

The documentary traces the True Love Waits story from a concept sketched on a napkin and the unfolding of its first national event in 1994 at the National Mall to the present day relaunch through the True Love Project. Interspersed throughout the documentary are personal stories and testimonials about how the sexual purity movement affected lives the past two decades.

The film, which was directed by Travis Hawkins, also examines the larger issue of teenage abstinence from biblical, personal, cultural, historic and scientific perspectives.

At a launch event for the new film in Nashville, Ben Trueblood, director of student ministry at LifeWay Christian Resources, described the foundation the True Love Waits movement laid for bringing the movement to a new generation of young people who “need to see how the Gospel impacts their purity and how their choices in purity are about more than their sexual decisions.”

“A commitment to purity is about God and for God, and it can only be lived out in His grace,” Trueblood said.

Clayton King, who with his wife, Sharie, authored the True Love Project curriculum, described the True Love Waits commitment he made at a youth rally—where he also was a speaker—and shared how he kept the commitment card in his wallet in the years that followed.

Grace and forgiveness are key themes of the True Love Waits relaunch, he stressed, as is having an honest conversation with teens about the complexity of honoring God with their bodies.

“This generation of young people needs to hear an overdose of God’s grace,” King said. “My prayer is that people will understand they are image bearers of God.”

At the launch event, True Love Waits co-founders Jimmy Hester and Richard Ross were presented with framed photos of

True Love Waits co-founders Jimmy Hester (speaking) and Richard Ross make comments at the launch event for the documentary True Love Waits: The Complicated Struggle for Sexual Purity. In the background is a photo of the first True Love Waits national event in 1994, where 210,000 commitment cards were displayed on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

True Love Waits co-founders Jimmy Hester (speaking) and Richard Ross make comments at the launch event for the documentary True Love Waits: The Complicated Struggle for Sexual Purity. In the background is a photo of the first True Love Waits national event in 1994, where 210,000 commitment cards were displayed on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

the 1994 True Love Waits youth rally in Washington, D.C., where 210,000 commitment cards were displayed on the National Mall.

“This was the moment,” Hester said, glancing at the photo. “We realized this is a God thing and bigger than we could have imagined.”

He reminisced about how the movement grew internationally and the dramatic impact it had in Uganda, a country that had been decimated by AIDS prior to the introduction of True Love Waits. “Here in the U.S. the [abstinence] commitment is often a social issue; there, it is always a life-and-death issue,” he said.

Summing up the past 20 years, Hester described the True Love Waits movement as “an indescribable journey in a lot of ways,” adding that he is excited about its future “and the direction we’re moving.”

Ross was quick to agree. “Jimmy and I have been on the ride of our lives,” he said, stressing his belief that “God could have used anybody and whispered in their ears” the concept that became True Love Waits.

In affirming the passing of the True Love Waits torch to King as the movement’s representative and voice, Ross said, “I love this guy’s heart for Jesus and for students.”

He closed with a challenge for young people to rediscover the glory and majesty of Jesus. “If you want young people to embrace purity, let them see the King as He is today and say, ‘This is for You.’”

To learn more go to LifeWay.com/truelovewaitsfilm or email films@lifeway.com.

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