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Weeding Out Youth Worker Marijuana

shaggyImagine 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.

slide_342375_3540689_freeWhat 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:

burntIf 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.

WS-Beer-KitIn 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.

After all, legal marijuana sales hit 5.4 billion dollars in 2015…and more teens smoke weed than cigarettes.

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?

hqdefaultIs 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?

7 thoughts on “Weeding Out Youth Worker Marijuana

  1. I don’t say these things as I’m better or boast because “I don’t do this or don’t do that no more,” because that’s wrong. By saying it like that I feel like the tax collector and the Pharisee – it’s like I’m saying I’m better than them, but God’s word says no there is no righteous one. I say it as I know what it’s like to be in bondage and feel like you are a slave to it and feel completely hopeless. So as one who has smoked before cigarettes and weed I know it can become an addiction. After repeatedly doing it, it becomes not a habit but a bondage, and coming from a former smoker and a Christian now I can say these things and mean it. You cannot fully get rid of that sin, that bondage unless you fully surrender to God. It is a sin. It becomes your God. It’s called idolatry. You put all your trust and money and time hoping and believing it can “Heal” you but for how long? Hoping and believing it will bring you calmness and peace. God also said not to be of this world just as he is not of this world. He said do not partake in the ways of this world but be transformed. Yeah weed is from this world and from the god of this world but my God is not of this world. Legal or not, medicine oil or not, it’s not right in the eyes of the Lord. He has showed me this myself. Again I’ve smoked and honestly it never even brought true peace, it never brought me a true happiness, it never “calmed” me down. And to the ones that “got healed from the oil” why are they still taking it? Why do they need to continue keep on taking it if they are “healed” or “cured”. So to the ones who do want to quit and really quit you cannot do it without God ask him to take away that desire. And to ones who will say its a choice I pray for you because that choice to “burn” one. Could cost you your life

  2. It may be a little cloudy if it’s OK to smoke or not, but believe it should be very clear to not roll a blunt with pages of Scripture nor put a picture of such on your site.

    • Thanks, Will. I found that picture when doing research for the article. I’m glad we can take offense to that for all the right reasons… we should be.

  3. Interesting topic. Here’s a quick story about my experience. I was once part of a youth group for 3 or 4 years. Every kid in my group used weed. We were high pretty much every time we meet. Our youth leader knew, accpected it and never brought it up. We all had a good time. After high school I struggled with addiction for 5 years. I’m clean and sober now 3.5 years. After reflecting back I realized I learned so much about God from that youth leader and those youth groups. Those years truly set the foundation for my spiritual life and growth. I certainly don’t know what’s right or wrong, God dose but I’m a big believe in accpectance. Gods plans are sometimes so hard to comprehend. Who knows. Maybe I don’t struggle with addiction without that group. Or maybe I never recover with out that group. Really makes you think.

    • Thanks, Mike. I wonder if it’s also worth noting that there was a legal issue with kids using weed like that. Maybe that was the least of things, as it sounds like you really enjoyed the community and investment of that youth worker. What if youth workers didn’t have to resort to something illegal to connect with kids and lead them to Jesus? Could your story have been different? Could the other students in that group be sharing something deeper and richer than that, too? I’d love to see us pass down a new legacy to the next generation. What do you think?

  4. “Look carefully at how you walk, not as unwise, but wise… Therefore, do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is… And do not get drunk on wine, but be filled with the Holy Spirit…” (Eph 5:1t-18) This verse obviously forbids getting drunk, but it doesn’t say anything about smoking weed. So, what are we to say, that smoking weed is permissible? What is the point that the author (Paul) is trying to get across? Is it ok to get drunk with beer, because he didn’t say that? Or, Vodka. Or whiskey? No, he is saying,” Don’t put anything in your body that would alter/affect your ability think and be in control. Instead, let the Holy Spirit dwell in you. In another part of scripture we read, “Do not quench the Spirit..”

    Seems to me, smoking pot would definitely alter your cognative abilities, never mind wrecking your witness and become a stumbling block to those under your watchcare.

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Weeding Out Youth Worker Marijuana

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