A History of True Love Waits

by LifeWay Student Ministry



Dec. 16 - Christian Sex Education project begins; Jimmy Hester, coordinator.


Sept. 9 - Richard Ross presents True Love Waits theme in a brainstorming session for a potential Christian Sex Education campaign.

Oct. 23 - True Love Waits presented to LifeWay Christian Resources management for consideration as part of the Christian Sex Education plan.


Jan. 13 - True Love Waits Team conducts first meeting, Nashville, Tennessee.

Feb. - Youth group at Tulip Grove Baptist Church, Hermitage, Tennessee, first to sign True Love Waits commitment cards.

Apr. 1 - Six resources in the Christian Sex Education Series released.

Apr. 21 - True Love Waits launched at Youth Ministry National Conference 4 Nashville, Tennessee.

June 15-17 - True Love Waits goal of 100,000 signed commitment cards by the next convention was presented by 300 area youth to messengers of the Southern Baptist Convention, Houston, Texas.

June 16 - Youth for Christ partners with True Love Waits Team in planning a national rally as part of DC 94 in July, 1994.

Sept. 7 - Contemporary Christian artists through Genevox Music Group and interlinc release first True Love Waits music project.

Sept. 29 - National and international media interest continues to rise as Richard Ross appears on The Today Show.

Oct. 11 - Toll-free number 1-800-LUV-WAIT established.

Oct. - First True Love Waits Newsletter released; Betsy Wedekind and Barbara Brake employed part-time as first True Love Waits staff.


June 14 - True Love Waits SBC Display at the Southern Baptist Convention, Orlando, Florida, with 102,000 cards displayed on the lawn in front of the Orlando Convention Center; 1,000 youth attend rally and presentation to convention messengers; messengers vote to make February of each year True Love Waits Month.

July 29 - True Love Waits National Display at DC '94, Washington, D.C., with 210,000 cards displayed on the National Mall between the Capitol and the Washington Monument; 25,000 youth attend rally.

On the same day, students conduct a parade and rally in Kampala, Uganda, launching True Love Waits efforts in HIV/AIDS plagued Africa; IMB missionary Sharon Pumpelly initiates a close partnership with Uganda's first lady Janet Museveni that sets in motion the most effective True Love Waits efforts resulting in a reduction of the HIV/AIDS infection rate from 30 percent in 1993 to 6 percent in 2006.

Aug. - Baptist World Alliance partners with True Love Waits Team to provide an international display at the Baptist World Congress in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in August, 1995.

Oct. - Media interest continues to rise as over 400 national and international media to date have inquired about True Love Waits including Newsweek, Rolling Stone, Teen Magazine, Family Circle, Life magazine, The Phil Donohue Show, and many newspapers and radio stations.


Feb. 6 - True Love Waits Team begins planning for a second national display at Atlanta '96 youth ministers' meeting to be held at the Georgia Dome in February 1996; plans are to stack commitment cards "through the roof" of the Dome, thus the theme True Love Waits Thru the Roof.

Feb. 16 - International interest continues to rise as evidenced by a visit to the True Love Waits Team by Fano Sibisi and Kjell Olsen from South Africa to share appreciation and gain information to improve their True Love Waits efforts.

Feb. - True Love Waits is presented to 15 million people as Richard Ross appears on NightLine to discuss sexual issues among teenagers in America.

July - As more and more teenagers sign commitment cards, National Student Ministries at the LifeWay Christian Resources introduces True Love Waits to college campus ministers.

Aug. 1-6 - True Love Waits International Display at the Baptist World Congress, Buenos Aires, Argentina, with 220,000 cards displayed from 13 countries; 400 youth attend rally on August 4; Argentine Baptists used the event to launch their True Love Waits campaign.

Aug. 15 - True Love Waits Team begins planning True Love Waits Goes Campus, a focus on taking the sexual abstinence message to secondary schools and college campuses each year around Valentine's Day.


Feb. 11 - True Love Waits Thru the Roof Display at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, with 340,000 cards stacked to the roof and beyond; 18,000 youth attend rally; broadcast nationally on Trinity Broadcasting Network; True Love Waits Goes Campus launched.

Sept. - Media interest continues to swell as Richard Ross makes his second appearance on The Hour of Power; more than 600 media relationships have been established to date.'


Jan. - True Love Waits regional rallies are conducted in several locations across the country creating interest in True Love Waits Goes Campus.

Feb. 14 - True Love Waits Goes Campus is conducted on secondary school and college campuses; over 500,000 commitment cards are distributed; local media coverage extensive.

July 31 - True Love Waits Team members attend the National Leadership Summit on Abstinence, Washington, D.C., sponsored by Medical Institute for Sexual Health; over 300 leaders meet to join forces in the growing sexual abstinence movement.

Sept. 17 - True Love Waits Team begins planning for involvement at YouthLink 2000; YouthLink 2000 will unite 170,000 to 200,000 young people December 29, 1999 through January 1, 2000 in seven cities across America. True Love Waits Team develops plans for Crossing Bridges with Purity, the True Love Waits emphasis for 1999-2000. Plans call for community and state displays with commitment cards being forwarded to San Francisco, California, for a national display on October 2, 1999, at the Golden Gate Bridge. Cards will then be sent to New Zealand to be part of an international display December 29-31, 1999, near the International Date Line.


Apr. 21-22 - As a part of True Love Waits Goes Campus 1998, True Love Waits reports are presented to U.S. Senators and Representatives, the Surgeon General, and governors and other state leaders.

July 16 - True Love Waits issues a Statement for the Congressional Record as part of Congressional hearings on sexual issues and trends sponsored by the Empowerment Subcommittee of the Small-Business Committee, US House of Representatives.

Fall - The first True Love Waits website launches.


Feb. 14 - True Love Waits local campaigns launch the 1999-2000 emphasis on Crossing Bridges with Purity.

Spring - Local youth groups and organizations send commitment cards to a state contact for a Crossing Bridges with Purity display and rally at a focal point in the state.

Oct. 2 - True Love Waits Crossing Bridges with Purity National Display at the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California. Over 1,500 youth participated in a prayer walk and in carrying 100,000 cards across the bridge. A human display the length of the bridge was formed on Marina Green to celebrate the commitment to sexual purity before marriage.

Dec. 31 - Two hours before Millennium Island welcomed in the new millennium, a group in Australia had corporate prayer for Crossing Bridges with Purity True Love Waits cards that crossed the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco in October. Prayer was also offered at a midnight service in a local church where 400 people gathered to pray for teenagers making the commitment to sexual abstinence.


June 13 - True Love Waits returns to the site of the first True Love Waits display of cards. Four hundred and fifty yard signs were displayed at the Southern Baptist Convention in front of the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida.


Jan. - True Love Waits redesigned website launched.

Feb. 14 - 31,338 teens sign online pledge cards for Seize the Net on www.truelovewaits.com.

Feb. 15 - Seize the Net certificates printed.


Feb. 13 - Seize the Net Goes Live! takes place in Fort Worth, Texas, and is broadcast via satellite all across the country. The live event features musical guests, testimonies, and challenges. More than 70 churches link up by satellite to host rallies for the viewing of Seize the Net Goes Live!

Feb. 14 - Valentine's Day concludes with 82,411 students signing TLW commitment cards on www.truelovewaits.com.

Feb. 15 - Seize the Net certificates printed.


Feb. - True Love Waits Goes Home emphasis begins. The focus is on bringing parents and students together to study about purity and commit to living pure lives. The True Love Waits pledge is reworded and a pledge for parents is created.


June 26 - True Love Waits celebrates its 10th anniversary with a rally in Centennial Park, Nashville, Tennessee, in preparation for the Athens event during the Summer Olympic Games.

Aug. 22 - True Love Waits International Display and Rally during the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece; 460,000 cards from 20 countries displayed at the Dora Stratou Theatre located near the Acropolis.


Feb. 11 - True Love Waits Takes the Town national launch from Nashville, Tennessee; an initiative to encourage cities and towns to take a unified, community-wide approach to promoting sexual abstinence until marriage by involving schools, government, businesses, churches, health organizations, and others.


May 25-June 2 - True Love Waits group including Larry and Sharon Pumpelly, Jimmy Draper, Jimmy Hester, Jack Tompkins, Michael Yarber, and Gary McCauley travel to Kenya and Uganda to observe successful True Love Waits efforts in Africa.

July 28 - True Love Waits announces plans to expand in Africa through LifeWay Christian Resources' A Defining Moment major-donor campaign.


Apr. 12 - True Love Waits International officially launches as one of several A Defining Moment projects, a philanthropic campaign initiated by LifeWay to touch the nations for Jesus Christ.

May 21-22 - Sharon Pumpelly is enlisted as the Lead Consultant for True Love Waits International; Sharon meets in Nashville, Tennessee with Coordinator Jimmy Hester, Paul Turner, Mike Wakefield, and Larry Pumpelly to finalize operating plans to begin work in African countries.

Aug. 14-17 - True Love Waits International Summit takes place in Johannesburg, South Africa, with the newly enlisted TLWI Team (Paul and Sally Cline, Michelle Perkins, Cindy Schirle, Larry and Sharon Pumpelly), Coordinator Jimmy Hester, and 43 representatives from Swaziland, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, and Kenya.


Feb. - In partnership with Holman Bible Outreach International, a True Love Waits New Testament releases for international distribution. The initial release includes a quantity of 100,000 Bibles distributed in Africa and the Philippines.

Mar.-Dec. - True Love Waits International gains momentum as team members cultivate relationships with nationals in each of the six newly targeted African countries, train presenters, and establish partnerships with like-minded organizations and groups; Malawi added as a TLWI target country.


Feb. 13-26 - A LifeWay True Love Waits Mission Team (Jimmy Hester, trip coordinator; Kim Hester, Mike Wakefield, Patti Baker, Rick Prall, Sharon Pumpelly, and Bob Bunn) works with Derek Ross and the national True Love Waits Team in the Philippines, training students in public and Christian high schools, working with students at a national university, serving at a student camp, and conducting an all-day purity conference; Philippines added as a TLWI target country.

Apr. 28 - LifeWay hosts a summit of invited adult and student leaders in the sexual abstinence movement to consider the future direction of True Love Waits for coming generations resulting in the development of TLW 3.0: A Path of Purity.


Sept. 14 - TLW 3.0: A Path of Purity is launched at the LifeWay National Youth Worker's Conference in Nashville, Tennessee. The emphasis challenges parents to use life markers to reinforce messages of purity, each one guiding the teenager to understand and adopt a lifestyle based on biblical standards of purity.

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