I made a good decision this weekend, but it took me a bit too long to make it. I decided to stop watching a show I used to love.
Several years ago, I went through a real intense growth period in my Christian life. I was learning a lot from the Lord and learning it fast. One of the decisions I made during that time was that I didn’t want to be entertained by things like sexual jokes, adultery, cursing, vulgarity and cruelty. I knew that God had called me to live with purpose and for Him, and I didn’t want anything coming in my way.
Then my friends started telling me how funny this show is. I stayed away from it for a while, but I finally gave in last month. Man did I love that show! I even finished 28 episodes (2 seasons) in less than a month.
Then recently, in passing, I heard someone mention that they don’t watch the show because of all the garbage in it. At first, I was ready to defend it as a “clean” show–there’s nothing vulgar, it’s not that bad. But then I thought about all the stuff I had been entertained by:
- Adultery is completely accepted as normal
- Jokes about sex and body parts happen every few minutes
- A sprinkling of cursing
- Lots of drinking
I realized that all the things I didn’t want to be a part of were now a regular part of my life. So I turned it off and I’m not going back.
As a leader in the body of Christ, living above reproach is not an option. The Lord commands us to “Be holy, because I am holy,” (Lev. 19:2, 1 Peter 1:16), and Paul also says that “among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people” (Eph. 5:3). Sometimes choices like this are hard, but they must be made.
In youth ministry, these hard decisions are even more important. Every student in your youth group watches you like a hawk. They know a lot more about you than you realize, and no matter what you tell them, your lowest standard is their highest standard. “Do what I say, not what I do” does not work with teens.
Are there standards in your life that you’ve let slip? Picture all the jokes you laugh at on TV, in movies and at home. Would you be comfortable sharing them in front of your youth group and pastor? Why or why not?
Nathaniel Dame is the president of Called to Youth Ministry which provides the youth ministry resources, coaching, community and training youth pastors need. He is driven by a passion to promote effective youth ministry in the local church. Nathaniel lives with his beautiful wife, Christa, in Woodstock, Illinois.