Imagine that one of your volunteers smells a little funny sometimes.
He tries hiding it under other scents he’s sprayed on or is chewing, but the odor remains and even makes you a bit spacey being around him.
Do you weed him out, or take the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy?
What if your state has legalized marijuana?
There are various responses in the Christian community on the subject of recreational drug use. We can go there if you want. The most common thought on one side is that we consider 1 Peter 5:8 which reads, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” Marijuana doesn’t put you into your best state of mind for alertness and sobriety, after all.
Others would argue the “minimalist” slant – that God has other larger concerns beyond marijuana use. We can go there, too. We can talk all about how some Christians are too uptight on certain topics and just need to loosen up…and you know just how to help.
I’d rather instead go up a notch on my original question.
What if the drug user isn’t a volunteer but a church leader?
I read an article not that long ago about a youth pastor who anonymously confessed to smoking pot.
The quote came about via the Whisper app as the individual said, “I am a youth pastor at a large church, and I smoke marijuana everyday that I am not at a service (Sunday, Wednesday & Friday).”
We could assume all kinds of reasons why this person stayed incognito on this.
That’s all we’d be doing, though – assuming.
So let’s narrow the question even further:
If your state legalized marijuana and you are an adult youth worker students look to in order to understand what it means to “deny yourself, carry your cross and follow Jesus,” should you be lighting up a cannabis “burnt offering?”
Before you answer…let me tell you a story or two.
In one of the first student ministries I served in, I noticed a newer small group leader regularly chewed tobacco. I didn’t think much about it until two weeks later all of the high school guys in his group starting chewing tobacco, too.
All of them. Eight in total.
Those students even got their friends into it. It was like Skoal evangelism.
In another church, I served in a denomination that had a policy about recreational alcohol among leadership. One of my most solid adult leaders didn’t realize this (even though he signed a membership covenant) and regularly brewed beer in his house. I discovered it one night when I was dropping off curriculum for a small group he would be hosting that weekend. Suddenly, I remembered the tobacco fiasco in the other church. Even after trying to tactfully talk with him about it, I only ended up offending him to where he drew a line and said he’d quit if I really cared about it that much.
What would you do?
Rather, what will you do…with whatever is happening now, and whatever is next?
That’s what I’m actually attempting to ask you. We’re in an era where things we once told kids were illegal are now becoming legal. Not only that, we’re wondering if it’s okay if we do this ourselves.
So does it really matter if Christ-following youth pastors get high behind closed doors or publicly?
Is this something that would warrant a conversation between you and them?
Is this nothing more than churches who wrestle over the beer issue…or are we on the verge in Christendom of being less under the leadership of the Holy Spirit and more under the exhale of culture?
“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but I will not be mastered by anything.”
– – 1 Corinthians 6:12
What are we really talking about here?
What do you think?