After having a discussion with some fellow youth pastors in town I couldn’t help but post some thoughts somewhere so I decided to join the blog world and start posting my thoughts somewhere mostly for my own therapeutic purposes but hopefully it will spur someone else’s thoughts as well.
The discussion we had centered mostly on legal issues within the church. I found myself being greatly disturbed and frustrated with the general idea of the church having to be fearful of legal action being taken against it at almost every corner. At one point in the discussion it seemed that we came to the conclusion that I can’t even take another male student out for coffee by myself because of some of the things that are happening in our culture lately. Organizations including churches will soon develop more policies regarding working with students.
My concern is when policies and procedures are made just to cover ourselves, in the fear “something could happen”, we damage ourselves in more significant ways. I find myself as a youth worker jumping through more and more hoops of procedure which get me no closer to my goal, ministry to students, and in some cases further away. My heart says this is an area the church should be different in. We should be less concerned with policy and more concerned with people. Legal ramifications can be very damaging and costly when not taken into consideration but there is also the promise that we will one day surely stand before a judge and be called a sheep or a goat. I’m not ready for policy to determine what I’ll be.
3 thoughts on “Legally Binding”
Will, I totally understand your frustration with precautions we have to take in our youth ministry. You will be respected because you follow the rules. You will also be safe from unsubstantiated claims, which unfortunately can happen no matter how pure your intentions. I have found that my youth ministry can be very effective in spite of the rules. I can usually find a different way to minister to a young person within the rules even though it might not be the way I want to do it. You know Billy Graham self-imposed a rule early in his ministry where he refused to EVER be alone with a woman, even in a car from the airport. He went on to become the most effective evangelist since Paul. “Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.” I’d be happy to discuss this more over coffee if you want.
Jeff thanks for the comments. I agree there are ways to minister within the rules. I understand there are definite reasons for the rules. I just don’t want to be so worried about the rules I lose sight of the real issue at hand. I would love to have coffee with you sometime and not only discuss this but also any other topic that may come up. Thanks for your friendship man.
These thoughts are very applicable to many issues. Thank you for sharing your insight on how legalism negatively affects our interaction with His people.