Should Kids Ministry Leaders Drink Alcohol?

drinkingThe other day I answered a question that was posed in a Children’s Ministry forum that I belong to.  “How do you all handle seeing Facebook posts of your adult volunteers drinking or bar hopping?”  There was definitely a diversity of opinion among the members of the group.  So, I thought that this would make a good blog post and a healthy conversation.

Before I get into it, let me make something perfectly clear:  This is my opinion.  I am not declaring doctrine, nor am I telling you what your standards should be.  I am simply sharing my personal thoughts on the subject.

On my Kids Ministry Team, we have a policy for our Children’s Ministry volunteers that states, “I will strive to live a holy life and avoid habits that diminish my personal testimony or hinder my ability to lead.  I understand that my position on the leadership pyramid leaves me with less options than others.”  This includes drinking alcohol in public (bars, restaurants) or posting pictures of themselves partaking in alcohol.

My leaders also know that it is my desire and preference that they not drink alcohol AT ALL.  I understand that this may seem drastic to some of you.  Certainly, there is a point-of-view that says, “Drinking alcohol, as long as you don’t get drunk, is not a sin.”  This is a belief many people hold based on the fact that Jesus apparently drank wine at different times in the New Testament account.  Also, Ephesians 5:18 seems not to prohibit drinking alcohol, but does condemn becoming drunk:  “Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit…”  I definitely won’t argue or discuss that viewpoint.  I am not addressing the subject of “Should CHRISTIANS drink alcohol?”  That is a broad subject for another blog, another time (most likely another author, because I don’t plan to address that issue).

There are many things that, while they are not necessarily sin or sinful – as a leader of other Christ followers – I do not do.  The reason is not simply because it is sin, but because there are many who would be confused or troubled by me doing it.

“It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything else if it might cause another believer to stumble.  You may believe there’s nothing wrong with what you are doing, but keep it between yourself and God.” – Romans 14:21-22  

Since my goal is not to “be free to do things,” but rather to lead others in their walk with Christ, there are things I have decided just are not worth it because of the difficulty they would cause others I am trying to lead.

Alcohol is a killer – in many ways.  Teen alcohol use, alcoholism, drunk-driving, etc.  I really just don’t want to be connected with something that has VERY few positives about it and PLENTY of negatives.

Being leaders and teachers of children – we have to have a MUCH higher standard for our habits and behavior.  Children are impressionable in ways that adults may not be.  Jesus cautioned us in Matthew 18:6“If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.”  This means that we must go above and beyond in not allowing anything in our lives to have the potential to cause children to choose a path that is destructive to them.

It is one thing to make a choice to privately drink wine/beer with dinner or in the privacy of your own home (Ephesians 5:18).  But, once you choose to be a LEADER – especially to children – the standard is much higher.  As Dr. John Maxwell so eloquently puts it:

“The heart of leadership is putting others ahead of yourself.  It’s doing what is best for the team.  For that reason, leaders have to give up their rights.  The higher you go in leadership, the more its going to cost you.  You will have to give up to go up.”

Being involved in a ministry team is purely voluntary.  I believe that anyone who is involved in ministry should be willing to represent the church they serve. Depending on your context and the standards in your community, you should be willing to come in line with the standards that are set forth in those ministries.  

I understand there are many who will say, “You’re just being legalistic!  You are making up do’s and don’ts that aren’t in the Bible!  If Jesus didn’t want us to drink he would not have started his ministry by turning water into wine.”  Again, those arguments would be valid if we were talking about “Christians in general.”  But, we are talking about those who CHOOSE to be a part of a ministry team that focuses on leading children in their spiritual journey to become more like Jesus.  

I want my leaders to live lives that are above reproach and would never cause a parent or child to question their heart, motives, or lifestyle. I have that rule to protect the kids, but also to protect the volunteers from unnecessary criticism.  One day I will stand before God and answer for the way I led my team.  I would much rather receive a rebuke from God for “having too high of a standard that you kept some people from choosing to serve” rather than “you caused many of my little ones to stumble.”

So, I know I have opened up a HUGE debate here.  I would love to have some of your thoughts on this.  I invite opposing points of view.  The goal is to learn from each other.  Please leave a comment in the Comments section on this post.

 

 

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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163 thoughts on “Should Kids Ministry Leaders Drink Alcohol?

  1. Our church’s general policy is a non-drinking one altogether, but I personally would probably have something different in my own church if I was to do it. I agree with your rules for the most part. I probably would not restrict public drinking altogether. If someone wants to go out for dinner and have a drink I find no problem with that. I probably would ask, due to how much social media is in our lives and how pictures and posts can be easily misconstrued, that they don’t post pictures of the drinking – with some degree of leniency. I think it comes down to the heart of the matter. I agree that we, as Christians in general and not just as leaders, are to put others first. In doing so, I doubt that I would want a leader that goes bar hopping or playing drinking games. More than likely there’s more involved there than casual drinking and should be addressed. I think that overall we (I refer more to the churches I’ve been part of) make hard rules to make it easier on ourselves when, in reality, it’s more complex than that. We try to avoid confrontation and conflict by instituting hard, fast rules when they actually can make us more legalistic and think we are righteous because we follow the rule (I’m not saying you are doing this, but looking at past experience). Again, though, even that is a heart issue. Someone may make the rule with a great heart’s intent but another take it as a rule of superior righteousness and boasting. Another church may have more lenient rules with more freedom in how you serve while another will take it as freedom to sin. It’s a balance and it all goes back to the heart. Like you said, if you want to serve, you will put others first. Whether the rules of the church for that are more strict or more lenient, your goal for yourself and your students glorifying God and growing in Christ is what is most important. Maybe the rule should be “do what is best for growth in godliness for those you serve” rather than being more specific and then address issues as they arise without making additional rules. Perhaps talk about that with the leaders and answer questions ahead to get thoughts. Maybe that’s an experiment to attempt. In a perfect world it would work great, but we don’t live there yet so differences of opinion and controversy occurs, but, Lord-willing, we all work toward that same goal to glorify our Father in heaven and live that others may do the same.

  2. The Bible tells us that if we are going to be a leader that we are going held more accountable because of our influence and teachings. I believe leaders need to stay away from all appearance of sin. We are going to be scrutinized enough for doing the right things. Why give anyone any ammunition to turn on you to prevent you from doing what you have been called to do.

  3. As a person with a history of family alcoholism, I have chosen to stay away from public drinking for my own spiritual good, not because it is wrong or detrimental, but because I know all to well how easy it is to allow one drink to become more.
    I also am very aware that as a leader, my every act comes into question by those I lead. Again, not because it is wrong in a biblical sense, but because of the public perception surrounding drinking. I want, as a leader, to remain transparent, and a witness, and if those I lead perceive any wrong doing, then my witness and leadership may become ineffective.
    Finally, the real issue then becomes an issue of the heart. If I am following the voice of the Holy Spirit, and allowing God to speak into my life, then He will show me the correct path to take. He will lead me away from the traps of others perceptions, and away from familiar, generational spirits, and guide me into the most effective of leadership positions.
    Remember to be encouraged by this topic. Romans 8:1 tells us that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Listen to the gentle voice of correction and allow God to do amazing things in you and through you; remain teachable.

  4. I have always had a non-drinking policy and a few other purity policies following the principals of Paul in Romans 14 as you have shared. Each year I hand out a one page ministry covenant renewal. It includes the following statement “Exemplifying the highest moral commitment, Lakeside Children’s Ministry Teachers are to maintain a disciplined life of Bible reading, prayer and worship. You must also refrain from such things as profanity, smoking, or chewing tobacco, gambling, alcoholic beverages, dishonest gain, illegal drugs, pornography, sexual immorality and all behaviors which might cause Christ to grieve and others to stumble.” This can be a problem for some, not most. This annual covenant has saved me a lot of grief. It clearly communicates what our expectations are. When a issue comes up I always try to act in grace and supportive of the person. Some have had to step out of ministry for a season, some need help and support. On the issue of alcohol I simply ask for the period of time they teach they not drink. I honestly have never had a major problem with it. If someone is seeing their children’s ministry staff post pics of them drinking on social media I question if they have clearly communicated their expectation.

  5. I believe this standard should be for anyone in leadership, period. We can stumble and fall into sin at any age. Everyone needs to shun the appearance of evil. Loved the article 🙂 nice to know there are leaders living out the gospel and teaching the higher standard at which we are called and not watering down the Word of God. Well done

  6. I’m so glad you posted this. We don’t do anything in our home we wouldn’t want our children to do and same for the ministry. That’s a decision we made a long time ago and it’s why we choose not to drink. Thank you for your honesty and willingness to lead your team and not let them stray blindly! It means the world to us.

  7. Very good article!

    There are so many different views and opinions when it comes to the issue of “The Christian Drinker” that it goes beyond the scope of what you are addressing here. When it comes to servant leadership, one of the things that I have learned is God establishes Spiritual Authorities in our lives. I am required by God to honor my authority, and in doing so I honor Him.

    With that being said, alcohol has never been an issue for me. I am to my knowledge the only male in my family who has not been arrested for Drugs and Alcohol. (Thankfully I have never been arrested. 😉 ) So knowing the history and struggles that are within my own family, I ran from it.

    However, let’s say that I did occasionally drink – not to get drunk, but to enjoy the “Fruit of the Vine”, and I signed up to serve under a leadership that states it is not permissible for those serving to drink. I would then subject myself to their authority, and give up my right to drink alcohol to bring honor to them. I’ve learned that this life I live is not, and will not, ever be about me. I lay down my life, my rights, my opinions, to serve those ahead of me, and to serve the one who created me. (And to also lead those who are following me.) I have also noticed that with this submission and subjection to the “Honor Culture” that those now under my own Spiritual Authority, honor me in their own way. Not because they have to, but because they want to.

    We could talk, and go back and forth, all day about what scripture says, and what we should do, and how we should react, but I really believe that this is settled with the leadership that you are under, and the honor that you show them for abiding by their wishes. We should do it joyfully, and happily, and honorably, and in genuine love because we know we are honoring God, and bringing Him glory! Again, this live is, and never will be, about me. It’s about the God who created me, and the authorities that He has established in my life, whom I am called to bring honor.

    Just my 2 cents!

    Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you. – Hebrews 13:17

    Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. – Romans 13:1

    Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.
    Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.
    – Romans 12:10-18

    If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned,fn but have not love, I gain nothing. – 1 Corinthians 13:1-3

      • Thanks Pastor Brian!

        I do have one, unfortunately I have not posted to it in over a year. (Eeek.) I had several priorities come up that got me out of the habit of doing it, and I just never went back to it. Writing is something I really enjoy doing, so I am grateful for the encouragement!

        I’d love your thoughts on it, feel free to check it out in your spare time and let me know!

        http://matt2thetaylor.wordpress.com/

    • Matt great opinion! I whole heartily agree! I like the way you brought it all back together with The Word! 🙂

      • Thank you, Melanie!

        I am of the opinion that scripture is clear about where we should stand on such controversial opinions. I personally have to ask the question “Is this hill worth dying on?” and for me, it’s not. There are no benefits that I can see that would outweigh the questioning of my integrity or character from a parent’s standpoint. Once I lose that with them, I don’t only lose it with them – but everyone they communicate with, and forget about it if they post it on Facebook. For me, it is definitely not “beneficial” and it doesn’t help me do what Jesus came to do, “Seek & Save the lost” and lastly, it doesn’t help me accomplish what the Holy Spirit is here for, the “Edification and Building Up of His Church” (Caps for emphasis)

        “I have the right to do anything,” you say–but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”–but not everything is constructive.” – 1 Corinthians 10:23

        “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” – Luke 19:10

        “And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.” – Ephesians 4:11-16

        Thank you again for your encouraging words!

        You rock!

  8. I hate alcohol because of what I see it do to people. I feel the Lord recently gave me this analogy: For someone to say, “drinking is not a sin.” Is correct. It’s also not a sin to look at Playboy magazine. It’s what it leads to. Get my point?

  9. Brian, Thank you for tackling this. Great post. I’m the one who posed the question and it’s good to see someone not afraid to stand for something. I agree with everything you say 100% What I’ve learned: It’s something that needs to be addressed upfront. Be proactive instead of reactive. I didn’t think of the need for a policy like this and now we are back-tracking. Would you have a copy of your policy you could share? Thank you.

  10. I read this as a post on a friends and fellow church member’s page… I totally agree.. we, as Christians, should never knowing do something that causes our brother to stumble and fall. And I have never heard anyone say how much that glass of wine or alcoholic drink did for their salvation, and how it helped their testimony.. Well, said, I agree 100% we are not perfect, by any means, but we are given choices… and as Christians we should make good ones… for us and those we influence.. thank you

  11. Well stated. I represent a higher calling and greater kingdom than my own. I feel you are right on and I hope others will follow your line of thought…

  12. This should be a general rule for all children of God, not only leaders. We have to remember as Christ followers we are our brothers keeper. If we do anything to send the wrong message or a confusing message it can cause someone their soul. Many might save their drinking for the privacy of their home. However if there are children present in the home, what message are we sending to the children in the home? (Do people still really think kids keep all secrets at home?) Christians in the whole are a remnant people that are held by a higher standard, especially when it comes to the life we live before others.

  13. What is sad is it only takes one drink to make one like what he drinks and can become addicted by it. Sin is missing the mark. Go to your jails and prisons and ask what happen to you? Alcohol, drugs, lust and having it my way is more important then Gods way! Be careful your not giving people the right to do wrong. We are to stay away from evil, not see how close we can get!!!

  14. I tend to agree with you Pastor Brian. First of all, when I decide to join a ministry team, I take under consideration that I will need to follow their rules or I should not join their ministry. Another thing is why would we NOT give up alcohol for the sake of kids who are so impressionable, even if we, the adults, feel we have a right to drink it?

  15. I think pretending adults don’t drink sets youth up for a culture shock when they get to college or out in the real world.
    There is a difference in treating drinking as something adults do and pretending it doesn’t exist.
    Youth aren’t stupid. They know what’s going on. If you think they aren’t going to partake just because your youth leaders don’t post it on Facebook, you are mistaken.
    It is time for the church to PREPARE kids for life and stop building this perfect idea of what adults WISH life was like. Raise them in the way they should go but treat them as humans and not the perfect little disciples you all wish they will be forever. Sometimes the best most godly youth drink, have sex, even smoke a little pot… That doesn’t make Jesus hate them or make them any less perfect. Don’t fill them with guilt for being human.

    • Sarah,

      First of all – thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. I wholeheartedly agree with you that adults (especially Kids Ministry Leaders) should not be naive and “pretend like adults don’t drink.” This blog is a forum that is focused on an audience that are primarily Leaders and Pastors of children ages 11 and under. When I wrote this article, they were my intended audience. So, you have to filter everything I wrote through that grid.

      It’s not about “pretending” – it’s about choosing actions that help accomplish a stated goal. The stated goal of Kids Ministry Leaders is to “lead children in their journey of becoming life-long followers of Jesus Christ.” I want every decision I make to be in line with that stated goal. Likewise, I don’t want to do anything that would go against that goal. Just because something is permissible (not a sin) does not mean it is wise.

      I certainly don’t encourage any Kids Ministry Leaders to train and lead the kids they are entrusted with in a way that they “wish life was like.” The standard for all Christians should not be our wishes, desires, or even societal norms. Our standard is The Holy Bible, God’s written word. It is our guidebook for living. So, I want to make sure that every decision I make is based off of that. That being said, I am not sure the statement of “sometimes the best most godly youth drink, have sex, even smoke a little pot” is really in keeping with that standard. I understand, all people make mistakes – and can be forgiven and restored. But, if anyone chooses to willingly continue in sinful behavior such as breaking the law (teen drinking and smoking pot) and having pre-martial sex, then I am not sure we can hold those individuals up as “the most godly youth among us.” It doesn’t make them evil people – and certainly doesn’t “make Jesus hate them,” but it is certainly not something to dismiss and ignore. Now, in no way would I want a Kids Ministry Leader to “fill them with guilt” for that. That is not in line with our stated goal. In those cases, our desire should be to “restore them gently” according to Galatians 6:1“Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself.”

      Didn’t mean for this reply to be this long, but hopefully you can see where I am coming from. This post is written directly to Pastors and Leaders. It is not written directly to parents. Parents have the right to decide whether or not they drink in front of their kids – if they choose to. But, as a leader who is entrusted BY parents to lead THEIR children in their spiritual journey, I just always want to make sure I am setting the highest standard for those kids. That way, I never have to worry about whether or not I am “causing one of these little ones to stumble.”

      Just wanted to make sure it was clear where I was coming from. I could tell by your comment that you probably were not a regular reader of this blog and may not have realized who the intended audience was. Once again, thanks so much for weighing in. I think it is healthy for all to share their differing points of view in a respectful way. Thank you so much for helping make that happen! God bless!

  16. Brian, if I ever have children, I really hope they have the opportunity to grow up in a children’s ministry system that you manage or are associated to in some way.

    Touchy subject, and I absolutely agree that your opinions are reasonable, just, safe, and sound.

    I will point out that many denominations as a whole approach this subject very differently. Being raised a “mut” of various church-systems all within the bible-belt, and having spent time outside of the south (primarily in major-metropolitan areas and some internationally) I can testify that there are many ways that Christians in general approach this issue that varies differently by church-group, geography, denomination, and personal interpretation or belief on the subject… with varying results.

    You mention that under your leadership you expect certain guidelines… and the result is that you have a consistent approach and expectations are set with your volunteer group… I applaud that.

    I do caution those who strongly shun drinking to be mindful that not everyone may share the same perspective or philosophy, including other devout Christians. Other leadership-styles and church groups may be absent of such leadership standards regarding drinking (some see it as a non-issue), which is why our country is great because we have a variety of opinions and the freedom of choice… those who do CHOOSE to share Brian’s OPINION and philosophy have the right for their children to attend Brian’s ministry and can participate in leadership… And those who choose NOT to share Brian’s opinion and would prefer to drink also have thereby chosen NOT to be involved on Brian’s volunteer team, even though their children are still more than welcome to attend Brian’s services, as I hope my kids do someday.

    My Opinion (and strictly opinion-based):
    As previously mentioned, alcohol is a touchy subject and many people have negative outlooks on alcohol in general (sometimes for very good reason). I personally don’t blame alcohol for people’s problems, I instead blame people for their own problems and think that we are responsible for our own actions… If people can’t take responsibility of their own actions and also display self-control (alcoholics included but self-control issues span beyond alcohol) is that a person that should really be leading people (especially kids) in the first place? This goes beyond just church (again, in my opinion)… Self-control is an important leadership attribute in any environment. Regarding drinking, I don’t think drinking is bad… but I know personally that people can be bad and irresponsible at drinking.

    Brian – For the system you run, I’m glad you run it the way you do. Sharing my thoughts as you encouraged…. Hope you’re all doing well!!

    • Billy – I sure love and appreciate you, bro! I agree – alcohol is a touchy subject. That is definitely why I wanted to make it clear that this post was not directed at “Christians in general”, but rather specifically those who lead pre-school and Elementary children in the local church. I appreciate you weighing in! You are a blessing to me! Make sure you connect with me next time you are close to NLR!

  17. Frist of all we are called to be leaders and to be Christ like, drinking is not Christ like and the Bible says not to be drunk on wine but to be drunk in the Holy Spirit!! We need to remember that there is always someone that’s looking at our life so ask God to help us set the right example and be a light to the world, not of the world but in the world! no I don’t think its ok to drink or get drunk if you are a Christian!! God Bless!

  18. Bible says in 1 Cor 10:
    23All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful, but not all things edify.
    24 Let no one seek his own good, but that of his neighbor.

    Brian said:
    “Since my goal is not to “be free to do things,” but rather to lead others in their walk with Christ, there are things I have decided just are not worth it because of the difficulty they would cause others I am trying to lead.”

    Both very well put and really all that needs to be said. Dont turn freedom into an opportunity for the flesh.

  19. The June 2014 issue of Christianity Today has some very good articles on this subject, one specifically addressing ministry in the inner city where alcohol is so prevalent.

  20. I dont often enter this debate, but please consider this… God became flesh made his debut appearance at a party and brought the booze. Whatever you might think about holiness, define it by the Son of man who is holiness embodied – and the only example for leaders there has ever been. Consider carefully when you define holiness… Because the very word means undefineable. Somehow Jesus was less concerned with his reputation than we are. What does it say when most of us wouldn’t hire him in our churches…

  21. then you shall turn it into money and bind up the money in your hand and go to the place that the Lord your God chooses and spend the money for whatever you desire—oxen or sheep or wine or strong drink, whatever your appetite craves. And you shall eat there before the Lord your God and rejoice, you and your household. And you shall not neglect the Levite who is within your towns, for he has no portion or inheritance with you. (Deuteronomy 14:25-27 ESV)

    And the angel of the Lord appeared to the woman and said to her, “Behold, you are barren and have not borne children, but you shall conceive and bear a son. Therefore be careful and drink no wine or strong drink, and eat nothing unclean, for behold, you shall conceive and bear a son. No razor shall come upon his head, for the child shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb, and he shall begin to save Israel from the hand of the Philistines.” (Judges 13:3-5 ESV)

    for he will be great before the Lord. And he must not drink wine or strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb. And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God, and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.” (Luke 1:15-17 ESV)

    I think that ignoring a problem doesn’t fix it .
    Christianity is a relationship with Jesus . So wether we circumcise alcohol or don’t doesn’t gain us anything . Only obedience to Jesus is important . So we should teach them to seek the Holy Spirit and seek the answer from God . When they hear God ‘s voice in their Spirit ; it will change them and give them peace about their design . So they can know with confidence I can or can’t . If we step in and set down man made rules rather then trusting God ; we begin getting disagreements for man has many different convictions . In Jesus we have grace and unity .

    • Yes!! Great answer. One Jesus would agree with, I’m sure. Besides, growing up in the church, in a pastor’s home I’ve come to realize that much of the “do good” things we do so the world will see we are set apart and different has done more harm than good. We have allowed building blocks of pride grow inside us that has literally separated us from the world we are placed here to reach. It has also separated us from each other. Leadership included.

      Jesus said that people would know us by our love not by what we drink. I agree there are times being around others who literally can’t drink alcohol that we refrain for their sake. That’s love. But if you have those who are gifted and desire to volunteer their help in your program but do drink alcoholic beverages without getting drunk, and their own kids see it because they don’t hide things, and you don’t let them help…you could be missing a very important part of your program.

      I don’t drink any alcoholic beverages, but…every one of my kids do. And they never learned it in the church or home. And they were never pressured into it or drink to get drunk. They don’t hide their head in the sand either in fear that this imperfect world will corrupt their “perfect” lifestyle. They all love Jesus with all that’s in them.

      I learned a long time ago that no matter how righteous I try to become, my righteousness will still turn up as filthy rags. Teach your kids how to get intimate with Jesus and you’ll never need to fear what they see or don’t see…what they hear or don’t hear. He’s the only one who can be with us 24/7. We can trust Him. Any other method or teaching just becomes a control mechanism that we lose control of sooner or later.

  22. There is some eye opening revelation coming to the church on this and it is a freedom. I agree with not posting pics my daughter just graduated from university and was in a sorority and they were not allowed to post pics of them drinking or even to discuss it on sm. if that is the secular point of view then how much more we should be to protect the innocent.

  23. Loved this. Thank you for your insight and use of scripture. Our lives are not our own, and if we are to be effective we have to ‘give up to go up’.

  24. It’s all about testimony. We have the same policy for all church staff and leadership positions. I have been leading children now for over 30 years. I tremble to think of the negative effect it would have on so many, even though some are grown with their own kids, if they saw me drinking. I have stood at caskets of dads, moms, and teens whose lives were taken out because of alcohol. I stand firm on “not drinking.”

  25. I must say I find it interesting that people create stipulations for people to follow to be able to serve in an area that makes them feel a part of the assembly, or simply doing what they love at that place, and then expect them to live 100% honest in that stipulation in every area of their lives. It’s not realistic or appropriate to strip them of their “place” in their chosen involvement. Why? Because admitting it is NOT doctrine and requiring people to follow a non Biblical rule is almost cultish.
    I have been in churches on both sides of the modality. Their ministry is huge and they have extensive interviews and even consequences for people in leadership who violate self contol/boundaries that may effect their ministry of involvement, not rules. I think there is a difference. a Rule by definition is “one of a set of explicit or understood regulations or principles governing conduct within a particular activity or sphere.” A boundary is by definition is “a line that marks the limits of an area; a dividing line” or “a limit of a subject or sphere of activity”.
    I did a study on the Psalms that says “I will keep my vows daily…” because the word vow stood out to me. Are we making eternal covenants over this or a temporary contract that can be manipulated or broken?
    On the flip side…people are willing to drop or SUSPEND their habits to gain a job or career of choice that may test them initially or periodically to hold accountability. But it is not realistic to believe that a person will give up a habit permenantly due to how the human mind works and the motive.
    First we must asses the persons motive for the habit..in this case drinking (and the choice of ministry of course). Then we have to determine if we are upholding a standard of Biblical principle of a standard of judgement…which is expecting a person to agree with your personal standards and when they fail or disagree then we “judge”.
    You did state that the ministry is volunteer work and not required. So I agree that a person who volunteers should know upfront what to abide by.
    Lets look at the definition of volunteer” a person who freely offers to take part in an enterprise or undertake a task.
    definition of enterprise :a project or undertaking, typically one that is difficult or requires effort.
    definition of effort: strenuous physical or mental exertion; a vigorous or determined attempt
    definition of determined: having made a firm decision and being resolved not to change it.
    And last but not least Attempt:an act of trying to achieve something, typically one that is unsuccessful or not certain to succeed.

  26. I agree completely that as a part of a leadership team you should you should be willing to submit to that leadership. I also believe that because this issue seems to produce more grey than black or white we should be willing in any type of leadership to not partake of alcohol publicly. In the time the scripture do not cause someone to stumble was written the focus was food. In our time it seems more appropriate to apply to alcohol. Any form of leadership should echo the gospels teaching of freedom from sin not to sin..

  27. Amen! Excellent, Brian. Was just discussing how it was when we were young with some older Christians Monday. Your standard is not even close to legalistic as I knew it when I was young. I really like your standard for your leaders. Keep up the good work.

  28. I agree and have had this discussion with many ministry leaders. My grandfather was a mean alcoholic and basically destroyed his family because of it. I know how much that hurt my father and presented insecurities that lasted a lifetime. I don’t want to lead a child down that path – and many of the children in our ministries are hurting because their parents ARE on that path.

    My pastor (megachurch) said from the pulpit. “I don’t drink because I’ve counseled too many people who have allowed alcohol to destroy their lives. It’s that simple.”

    And I do think we have higher standards as ministry workers – especially those of children. Some things you just don’t do. Some friends invited us to have dinner at a casino – we thought about it and said “no.” Being that both my husband and I were in ministry, we didn’t want anyone to misconstrue why we were there even though the dinner would have been totally fine. When people see something (especially someone looking for a Christian’s failure), they don’t stop to think that maybe what they see is not what it seems to be and the rumors and accusations and maybe the decision for that onlooker to “follow” and head down the wrong path are all too easy. Children’s ministry comes with responsibilities.

  29. Sorry this is a little lengthy, but this subject is one I have deep person convictions about.
    I do not drink, nor have I ever. I grew up in a home with an alcoholic father and it was horrible. It caused us unimaginable grief. My drunk father murdered my mother, leaving behind 5 children ages 8-18. He went to prison, we were sent to a children’s home 90 miles from everyone we ever knew. His father, my grandfather was an alcoholic. My little brother died at 41 from alcohol, leaving 3 children, ages 7-13.

    I have a child in my church that has an alcoholic father, who got a divorce 11 years ago, when the mother ran off with another man. He has liver disease and has been told if he doesn’t stop he will die. My heart breaks for the child, as he knows and every week ask for prayer, as he I’d still drinking. He was seeking help when he met a woman & recently married her, she has 3 young boys. It turns out, she is an alcoholic too. Now there are 4 children living with this. The fathers parents have tried everything they know to help their son, but he is now rejecting them. He was raised in a home with 2 loving Christian parents. They have gotten up in the night to take him to the hospital, sat up with him multiple times when he went through DT’s. They pray for him continually. The child now stays mostly with is mother & recently his father doesn’t call, see him or come get him on his weeks. It is heartbreaking! You see the father is my son, the child my grandson. He said he never intended to be an alcoholic. A few drinks at work parties, with friends has turned into a deadly health hazard for him.

    I have other children that ask for prayer for their drinking, smoking parents. Many feel rejected and alone. The habits of the parents come before the child. I even have 2 that stated they were hungry & didn’t have food but their dad stopped to buy beer & cigarettes on the way home. I even gave food to a child to keep in her room, so she wouldn’t go to bed hungry.

    What kind of witness would I be in my home, in ministry, in my community, if I drank? My entire testimony of living 15 years with an alcoholic father, who was mentally & physically abusive when drunk, and as kind as can be when he wasn’t is too hard for most people to hear. My mother did not drink and was a gentle compassionate women, who protected her 5 kids to the bitter end.

    Alcohol hurt my childhood, my grandson’s & hurts more children than we could ever know. It is embarrassing to children and most won’t tell. God placed a lady in my life that shared God’s love with me at 13, gave me a Bible & prayed for my family. I share some of my testimony with older children & parents, and let them know how God pulled me from that pit, helped me forgive my father and changed my life forever. We each have choices in life & those choices can be deadly or life giving, but we can not make choices for others, even our children. They must each make a personal choice. I am glad I chose Jesus!

  30. I agree… Great article and enjoyed reading everyone’s view point. I’ve always had this thought if a child sees me drinking and they have a parent that struggles with alcohol, how is it okay for me and not okay for their parents. I think young kids can’t differentiate seeing me drinking my one drink and my not suffering the grip of that addiction and their parent behavior after drinking that may result in abuse or neglect. Also, since I may not be aware of these issues I’d not want a child who may be at greater risk for addiction problems to see my drinking as an endorsement that this behavior is alright for them too.

  31. John Maxwell’s comment pretty much sums it up. If people would forfeit leading people effectively by not being willing to pass up a meaningless thing such as drinking alcohol, in which they take in one end and urinate out the other, they cannot see the big picture and are selfish. Do you want that on your team? I don’t!

  32. If we are now the place the Spirit of God resides all the time, this seems to answer the question of wether to drink or not.
    Leviticus 10:8-11
    Conduct Prescribed for Priests
    Then the Lord spoke to Aaron, saying: “Do not drink wine or intoxicating drink, you, nor your sons with you, when you go into the tabernacle of meeting, lest you die. It shall be a statute forever throughout your generations, that you may distinguish between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean, and that you may teach the children of Israel all the statutes which the Lord has spoken to them by the hand of Moses.”

  33. Hi, I totally agree with if it will cause another to stumble then refrain from it. But I have an experience that created a guarded and careful opinion within myself. A friend of mines wife had been raised in a strict and guarded christian home, very active in church and saved at an early age. But it was such a strict household that she had been shielded from those temptations and sins of life and she wasn’t even aware that these temptations really exsisted. So as an adult and young bride exposed to the everyday workforce she came into contact with non-christians for the first time in her life. Then up came the temptations. Everything from rough language to drink and parties after work. She didn’t know how to mentally cope. It wound up ruining her marriage and needless to say her christian walk and witness. She wasn’t strong enough to even know when to seek guidance or how to really pray for the strength she lacked. She had been so protected that as an adult she had no idea how to deal with or compensate in the real world. I believe we need to teach our young people what is right and wrong, why it is so and how to stay away from that which is wrong and sinful and deal with those things in a christian manner. Totally shielding and acting like these temptations aren’t there can really backfire.

  34. I loved this. I was “called” to give up drinking for this very reason and many confirming opportunities have presented themselves on why I needed too. The crazy thing is I wrestled with myself about it a couple times because people would present those versus but then God led me to Ephesians where it says the more I lay down and follow Christ, the more I will understand of His hopes. Sealed the deal for me. No judgement just following….

  35. I believe that leaders should not drink alchol. My reson is that as leader you are to set an example and yes Jesus drank wine, but in the Bible it also talks about deacons being sober without drink. So i believe as leaders in general should also do the same for as leaders we are to show right living and to me alchol does not show this.

      • It certainly doesn’t say He didn’t drink the wine that He made, and He certainly drank wine in the upper room, while instructing His disciples to drink wine in rememberence of Him after He was gone. He was also accused of being a drunk, which certainly implies that He did drink. Oh, and Paul told Timothy to drink wine, and, and, and. Drinking is not a sin. Jesus drank. Brian says he agrees that drinking isn’t sinful, which makes his rules for his leaders non-spiritual rules IMO. But more important to Brian, apparently, than his leaders not drinking, is his leaders hiding any drinking they do from the kids. Deceiving the kids into thinking none of the leaders drink is apparently encouraged and even required. This sucks. Legalism and lies. Ugh.

        • Randy, while I appreciate your thoughts and opinions (even when they differ from my own)…I really would like for you to keep from MISrepresenting what I have written – and not making assumptions on what is or isn’t “important” to me. You’ve done this twice now. I am asking you politely to refrain from doing that in the future.

          “Brian says he agrees that drinking isn’t sinful…” – I did not state that in my article. I did, however, say “Certainly, there is a point-of-view that says, “Drinking alcohol, as long as you don’t get drunk, is not a sin.” In addition I said, “I definitely won’t argue or discuss that viewpoint. I am not addressing the subject of “Should CHRISTIANS drink alcohol?” That is a broad subject for another blog, another time (most likely another author, because I don’t plan to address that issue).” So, please don’t state that I agree or disagree with something that I clearly said I was not going to give my thoughts or opinion on.

          “But more important to Brian, apparently, than his leaders not drinking, is his leaders hiding any drinking they do from the kids.” – In no way can you take that from the article as written. As I stated clearly, “My leaders also know that it is my desire and preference that they not drink alcohol AT ALL.” So, to assume that it is MORE important to me that they “hide any drinking they do from the kids” is a complete assumption on your part.

          The bottom line is, there are MANY things that one may choose to do in their lives that while they may not be sin – it is certainly not WISE or HELPFUL to talk about or share with children. Just because I ask someone NOT to be public with a behavior does not mean that I am asking them to deceive or lie. I don’t talk with my kids about having sex with my spouse, but that doesn’t mean I am deceiving them into thinking I don’t. It is just not an appropriate subject or conversation to have. It’s common sense and wisdom when dealing with children. I would not want my leaders to LIE if asked by a child if they drink wine. They can certainly choose not to answer and to let the child know that it is an inappropriate conversation to have with them. That’s not deception. That’s wisdom – and training.

          Once again, I always appreciate differing views and opinions (as you can see by reading the comments and interaction with other readers). What I won’t tolerate is skewing and mischaracterizing the views of others. Thanks for honoring that in the future, Randy.

        • You are right, drinking alcohol is NOT a sin. Neither is reading penthouse,so would you do this in public or in front of your children? You must admit that both can be very addicting and lead to drunkenness and lust which as I see it are both sin.I think we should teach our kids about the problems that drinking can lead to so when they are old enough they can make their own decision. But as far as leaders, I don’t want my kids to think it’s ok to drink because their youth leader does.

  36. Children learn what they live. To drink alcohol, show yourself drinking alcohol or saying it is ok to drink alcohol is giving a witness that says, I am doing this, I did this, I will do this…it says it is appropriate behavior. That, on any level, is not acceptable. A very harmful witness to our youth, as well as unbelievers and new Christians who look to us as the example of Christian behavior. In addition, it is allowing the devil to temp us, while in the flesh. We can not be led by the Spirit if we are not of sound mind. The Spirit of confusion does not come from God, but rather the devil who will and has used alcohol to temp and destroy, time & time again. No leader who says they live a Christ filled life should ever drink anything or take anything that effects the mind & judgement. We are always being watched, I do not want to be responsible for anyone stumbling.

    • In life…we make choices. good choices…better choices…best choices…! I think, as a Christian…we need to make the “best” decisions! I choose not to drink…as I want to be as far away from from sin and evil as I possibly can…and as close to the Lord as I possibly can !

  37. Interesting blog. Thanks Brian for your insight. I find it interesting that this subject has appeared on my timeline multiple times the last few days.
    I am a “Christian Drinker.” I enjoy trying different malt blends. The subtleties of beer are interesting to me. While I agree you should not “be drink with wine” I don’t agree with abstaining completely.

    As I process this conversation, I wonder why alcohol seems to be a major sticking point.

    I see many leaders in ministry that do not take care of their bodies. Leaders put food in their mouth filled with GMOs and/or MSGs. These things do far more harm than the occasional glass of wine or pint.

    That being said, bottom line for me is to honor and respect your leader.

  38. I would not want to be a member of most of your churches nor let my child be led by people that would take away a good teacher’s volunteer job because he or she, as an adult, consumed alcohol. God chose fornicators, killers, tax collectors and such to lead his church. Yes, they reformed, but His love was not conditional nor should ours be. Drinking is not illegal, nor immoral, unless one does so in excess, habitually, etc. Often I see Christians judge more harshly than the Father. In such cases, all I can think of is that the person making the rules is either hiding something, or feeling selfimportant.

    I am a Christian, rarely drink, but this is the goody-goody attitude that has pushed me away from many well-meaning communities.

    • I totally agree Rebecca. We have created this image that is very off-putting to non-christians, this holier-than-thou image that is so against what Jesus modeled for us. I have been in Children’s Ministry for over 20 years, and there is nothing that turns away families more than this attitude that we somehow have to be “perfect.” We’re constantly judging people by their behavior, and that’s not how Jesus operated. Jesus loved people in spite of their sin, and used them to do great things. It is not up to us to judge. I don’t know why so many churches get stuck on this legalistic viewpoint of so many things – they create these rules that Jesus never gave, all in the name of being leaders. I understand that there are people that struggle with alcoholism, but it’s the addiction that is the disease, not the alcohol. I struggle with addictive over-eating…does that mean that no one should eat around me? This notion that you can’t be a Christian and enjoy alcohol is just nonsense, and not true. We have a book club that our pastor runs that is called “Book and Beer.” We meet at a local brewery and discuss different types of books – the one we are currently reading is “Joining Jesus on His Mission.” Some people drink beer, some drink wine, some drink iced tea, some pop. We’ve had people from the restaurant come in and join us on the fly – just because what we are discussing is thought provoking, and they were excited that we were a church group meeting in a brewery, and that was refreshing for them. We can’t hold ourselves so far above the mission field that we are not reaching those we are supposed to be reaching. What did Jesus model for us? Did he say go off and make yourselves look as good as you can to others, so they can do the same thing, or did he say get to know the culture you are a missionary in – live with them, know who they are, and love them. Ministry is messy – loving people is sometimes really messy, and if we try to sanitize it with rules and regulations we are missing the whole reason Jesus came – to reconcile our relationship with him.

      • Jeni, thanks for sharing your thoughts. I think perhaps you have misunderstood the premise of this post. I tried to be clear that I was not discussing “can you be a Christian and drink alcohol.” I feel like I bent over backwards to make that point. What I am hoping we can all talk about is whether it is WISE (not whether it is legal or whether it is permissible) for Children’s Ministry Leaders (not Christians in general) to partake of a substance that, in our culture, is connected with so many negatives (from alcoholism, teen alcohol consumption, binge drinking, drunk driving, etc.) while attempting to lead young children in their walk with Christ. I love that your church is working so hard to reach the lost in your community. That is AWESOME, it really is! And, I can hear your heart coming through your comments here – and I can tell that you are sincere in your desire to represent Christ in everything you do. I think it is important, though, to stick with the main thrust of the article – Kids Ministry leaders. Make sense? (and hopefully you were referring to other commenters and not my original article when you refer to a “holier-than-thou image.” I do hope that is not the impression you get when you read the article. Again, thanks so much for sharing your thoughts!

        • You have to answer the question “is it all right for a christian to drink alcohol?” because if it is, why is it not OK for me to drink if I am a leader in my church? Can I not be a good leader if I enjoy a glass of wine with my dinner, or a beer at the ball game? How would that be leading someone away from Christ? Many people can enjoy the fruit of the field and vine responsibly, and if we can show that to our children, they are better equipped to make wise choices. I’m glad that my children learned how to use alcohol responsibly in my home than at a frat party while they were in college. If you worship/serve/belong to a Christian faith community that believes that drinking alcohol is wrong, than no one in that faith community should drink, whether they are in a leadership position or not. If you worship/serve/belong to a Christian faith community that believes that drinking alcohol is OK, than it should be OK for everyone in that faith community. Yes, leaders should make sure that they are not out getting drunk or acting inappropriately, but I think it’s dangerous when you say it’s ok for some and not for all. Thanks Brian for the discussion!

          • Great thoughts, Jeni! I absolutely see where you are coming from. I would love to hear your thoughts on Romans 14:21-22 where it relates to working with minors in a church. Honestly, you definitely have a well thought out position. So, I definitely would love to hear your thoughts here. I sure hope you sense that I have not made any declarations or requirements for anyone here. I have stated what my approach is for my own personal ministry team. I am always eager to hear from others of an opposite viewpoint. Thanks so much for sharing with us!

        • Sorry, It wouldn’t let me reply to your later comment. Let’s back up your Roman’s reference to Romans 14:17-18.

          17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, 18 because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives human approval.

          If you have decided that drinking alcohol is not for you, than you should not do it. But Paul really hits it home in verse 17 – “The kingdom of God is not about eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” We are missing the mark when we get caught up in these legalities, and that is what Paul was telling the Romans – and here we are in the year 2015 doing the same thing.

          I understand that this is what you do with your leaders, but as you are a leader who other CM leaders follow and want to learn from, you are basically saying, “This is what I am doing – you should too.” I know that is not what you intend, but that is what people perceive. I love that you give us the opportunity to respond in christian love and talk about this hot topic on your forums. Thanks!

  39. This is quite the coincidence. Last night I was at a large 4th of July celebration on private property with many people I did not know. I believe in the same points you brought out so I chose lemonade over a beer and, wouldn’t you know it, a few kids I had mentored over the years showed up. The impression from them seeing me holding a beer in my hand definitely would have hurt my witness to them. Thank you for the affirmation!

  40. Very well stated and backed up we need to live by a higher standard the word is very clear on drunkeness it affects our behavior and our response times WE ARE SUPPOSE TO BE DIFFERENT THAN THE WORLD NOT PART OF IT

  41. Very well written. I agree!
    Now, if we are going to follow God’s word wholeheartedly, I think we need to start living the FULL word of God!
    Sure, he speaks about alcohol, but what about gluttony? I mean that is a sin right? Our “body’s are a temple” is what I’ve read. So, if we are to be good examples of the Word then we need to make sure we are following the WHOLE thing. Am I right? I mean I see obese people working at my church all of the time. I see people posting pictures eating JUNK FOOD! It’s ridiculous! If we are suppose to be examples of Christ can we just pick and choose the topics we want to follow?
    I mean maybe we should start telling our leaders if they are going to work with the youth they need to give up eating poorly.
    Oh yea, I know why we don’t do that…because every one would think that’s ridiculous. That’s why I think telling people you can’t socially drink as an adult in leadership is equally nonsensical.

    • Willow, thanks for your honest feedback. I think you are correct when you suggest that gluttony is an issue for many Christians and Leaders (as well as many other issues). But, I think taking the discussion in the direction you took it is more deflection than it is true dialogue. I don’t think eating one dessert or candy bar (and even taking a picture of it) is gluttony. Neither do I think taking one drink (or even posting a pic of it) is equal to being “drunk.” I think it is important to note that my post was not written about merely “an adult in leadership.” It was written to Children’s Pastors and Leaders. I also made it clear that in no way was I declaring something that should be “law.” My goal is to lead the children under my (and my team’s) care in a way that would cause as little harm and confusion as possible. I can respect that you disagree with my thoughts in this article, but I don’t think you can honestly call them “nonsensical.” They certainly “make sense” when you filter them through Romans 14:21-22 “It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything else if it might cause another believer to stumble. You may believe there’s nothing wrong with what you are doing, but keep it between yourself and God.” Again, thanks so much for your input!

  42. Since I have a Ministry and it is helping women coming out of prison and a mentor program I could not agree more. I can not choose to live the way some do that is just what God has impressed upon me. He told me many times that I can not do or partake as others do.

    I tell my girls all the time to follow me as I follow Christ. I think this is not only important with leading Children but those that are young Christians. It is confusing and troubling for them.

    We as leaders and teachers will be held at a high standard for leading his people. I want to hear him say well done my Child. I think we need more leaders in today society with higher moral standards.

    Thank you for your heart and the standard you and all the staff at First Assembly set for us.

    Love you Pastor Brian!

    Blessings,
    Tena Hauk

  43. Brian, thank you for this post. My wife and I stepped down from CM about 2 months ago for this reason, Our senoir pastor would preach not drinking, watching your testimony…etc…. But he allowed and knew our Nursery workers and Church Secretary would post pictures of lets say questionable photos and most were clear as day. He would discipline certain leaders and church members but the others forementioned would be allowed and continued this behavior. So ill say it, if you are leading children especially, Lead by example.

  44. This blog could have been written by myself. I have said these exact things over and over… but not just in leadership… but also in our Christian walk. Yes, leaders do have a higher calling of personal responsibility and more is expected of you. But also, Christians in general, have a higher calling to have a living testimony to those around them who ARE watching. As Christians, we are called to die to ourselves and follow Christ. This goes for many things… not just alcohol. It should include our lifestyle in general, our language, our attire, our countenance, our purity. Everything about us should be a witness to those around us.

  45. amen sister! People should never place Jesus drinking a fermented drink. There were two types of wine fermented and non. We are to be in the world not of it drinking is a representation of the world and its pleasures we become like it when we partake. Our erasures should never resemble the ungodliness of this world. If you have ever had alcoholic family members or friends with an addiction you really see the horrible effects of such a poison. I would never want to explain toy children why I was a stumbling block to them if God forbid they ever struggled with such. Holines holiness is want I long for.

  46. I honor you for your stand! I agree with you and always struggle with some who have been in ministry leadership of all ages who demonstrate a life of possible question. I couldn’t believe some one was taking this kind of a stand but then I got to the bottom and saw it was a “Dollar” and wasn’t surprised! KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK! It is pleasing to the Lord!

    Blessings!

  47. At bottom, the issue of drinking alcohol is not a legalistic issue, it is a spiritual issue. Ephesians 5:18 says, And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.” Proverbs 23:31 says, “Do not look on the wine when it is red, When it sparkles in the cup, When it goes down smoothly; At the last it bites like a serpent And stings like a viper.…” I guess my question to “sipping saints” would be, why, in view of all the misery alcohol has caused the human race over the ages, would anyone who claims a relationship with Christ wish to be a ‘role model’ for imbibing alcohol? And 2nd question, why would anyone who has the Spirit of the living God- the Spirit of love, JOY, and peace, etc.- need to drink fermented, rotten ‘juice’ to get happy? If I seem a little ‘direct’ in this post, it’s because I have witnessed first-hand in my own family the misery that the abuse of alcohol brings into a human life. Some people like to collect reptiles. I personally don’t. I liken alcohol consumption to introducing a reptile into your life. Play with it too long, and it will bite you (or somebody close to you).

    • We do not follow a religion but a savior . So while i agree the bible does say ,not to get drunk ; it never says do not drink. In fact their are several times it is said to drink and once to use it as medicine like many places still do . I guess to answer your statement about it ; i would refer you to Romans 14.
      God may say one can drink and another can’t because God has different purposes and designs for each of His kids. We all should follow scripture and let it judge us . Yet trying to outlaw drinking ; you add rules that God did not say and as in 1 timothy 4: 1-5 . You turn the walk of Christ into not sinning rather then obeying God. The goal of the christian is to follow Christ . It is not to not sin. If we stay focused on sin , then we worship it even if we don’t do it but if we keep our eyes on Christ then we worship Him and do as He says. We have no authority to go beyond scripture and the bible warns us not to go beyond scripture.

  48. When we choose to Serve Christ, we choose to honor Him with our actions. Serving with children is a privilege not a right. When we are in a position of influence over God’s children our actions are being absorbed by them. For those that believe it’s legalistic then you are free to make the choice NOT to serve with children.
    Great article!

  49. Why don’t we look a little deeper into Ephesians 5:18. What other verse in the Word of God is more consistently quoted without ever finishing the verse? If we were more concerned with the second part of the verse, if we were more consumed with continually being filled with the Spirit, rather than whether or not I’ve consumed too much alcohol, I feel we would realize the the effects of alcohol are only a counterfeit to what the Holy Spirit gives.

  50. I absolutely agree with everything you have said. Most importantly being a Christian role model is valuable to all young children. And what if they saw you drinking what kind of example would you be setting? You can hide some time but always

  51. Good Liars
    S – 1 Timothy 4:1-6 (NIV): “The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth. For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer. If you point these things out to the brothers, you will be a good minister of Christ Jesus, brought up in the truths of the faith and of the good teaching that you have followed.”

    O – Last days, abandoned faith, deceiving spirits, things taught by demons, hypocritical liars, seared consciences … wow what a list! What in the world would follow such a diabolical description? What kind of teachings or lies would such heavyweight forces of darkness seek to foist upon the human race? The information which follows is rather shocking in its humanly tepid description. In fact what follows is often applauded, promoted and required by the religious of our day … the religious who claim the Scriptures as their authority and Jesus as their Lord. Celibate clergy, forbidden to drink parishioners, superior vegan disciples are among the very elite religion puts forward as examples for all to admire and follow. Certainly any of these chosen lifestyles are fine for those who want to live as such. However, to require or forbid and to make an ideal, this is worse than an honest mistake … it is that which is taught by demons. Good ministers are not those who tote and promote such religious “company lines”. Good ministers/followers are those who point out the tragic opposition such teachings and ideas have to the awesome realities of God’s never ending kingdom and his ever expanding family (cf. Galatians 2:19-21, 5:4 ; Colossians 2:20-23; Mark 7:14-23; Romans 14:1-4).

    A – Only one of the foundational Apostles was unmarried. Why is the exception made the rule? Jesus would not qualify to be a credentialed minister or serve as an elder or deacon in many evangelical, charismatic and pentecostal churches because he was a “drinker.” To make matters worse, good ministers are labeled by these organizations as those who live and promote such abstinence for “the good of society.” Is society’s good really in view when the life, words, testimony, teaching and purpose of Jesus is ignored, covered up and (even unintentionally) made less than sufficient? Is there any state other than the righteousness of Jesus which meets heaven’s standard? If abuse and addictive concerns are the issues for which the only answer is abstinence, then what about prescription drugs, married sex, and money? Why would God’s word identify the basis for a doctrine of demons and then those claiming to represent him embrace and impose such a doctine on others? Romans chapter 14 confirms the Lord’s point and assigns all people (me included) the “bottom line” for such issues. Verse 22 says “So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God.” How about if we all become good ministers … point out the problem of thinking that we’re called to Jesus plus something else and whatever way we feel led to live out our lives we keep to ourselves and God? This would be awesomely good for society and give the Lord a clearer playing field to work his wonderful and redeeming work by amazing grace and defiant mercy. It would reduce the endless judgments Jesus says we should not make and stop creating categories which depersonalize people Jesus died and rose again for. The 2,000+ year old warning remains potently in force: “Be careful,” Jesus said to them. “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”

    P – Lord who is life,

    Thank you for your written voice (the Scriptures) and for warning and teaching us according to the real and vibrant life which is your Kingdom. Enable me to live out loud your truth according to love and to refuse the fall from grace (Galatians 5:4) which is so prevalent and natural to my fallen, little mind. You are the living word, the final word and the only hope of all people. Cause your life to come into me and to come out of me … let me be a reason someone else would believe. Thank you for grace, for wanting us at our worst and for giving us clear instructions on how to grow forward with you. Let all who name your name be the good ministers you intend.

    Glad to be following,

    Steve

  52. Thank you for this article. Could you further direct me in a situation, please? One of the youth leaders is a great cook and enjoys chose to make beer bread on a camping trip with several youth. I know the vast majority if not all alcohol is usually cooked off, so I’m not concerned about them becoming intoxicated by it. I think it reflects a lack of sensitivity to how this may affect how young men view alcohol and how it could affect people like me who choose do without for personal reasons. I do not believe he would encourage alcohol consumption in teenagers and I don’t think he did it with any sort of malice at all. I don’t know how to handle it. My husband says he would just ignore it and keep our son from any more camping trips, but I don’t want to keep our son from fun trips with his friends over this. Should I just ignore it as my husband says, speak directly with him and have it go no further or should I speak with him and with the man who is over youth?

    • I would kindly speak with the man about it. I would give him the TOTAL benefit of the doubt – he very well may have just not even thought about it. If it were me, I would say, “I know you have completely pure motives and you also definitely want what is best for the teens. However, I feel like I need to share with you my feelings about the ‘beer bread’ you have cooked on camping trips. Since the boys attending are underage and very impressionable, I feel that it’s not a good idea to take the alcohol along on the trip (even if it is for the bread and most of the alcohol is cooked out). Since there are SO many other amazing snacks you could cook, would you be opposed to NOT cooking the beer bread from now on? That would mean a lot to my husband and I. Thank you so much for considering this request.” I would bet the man will be VERY apologetic and agree to not cook the bread any longer. If not, then thank him for considering it – and then make the decision as to whether or not to include your son in the trips. I think the man deserves a chance to do the right thing. He doesn’t have a chance to make it right if you never let him know what he has “done wrong.”

      • He was gracious and said he hadn’t even thought of it being something that would cause trouble – it was just the way the bread worked -that’s why he wanted to make it. He said he’d be happy not to make anything else with alcohol at campouts.

      • Totally agree. Everyone deserves the opportunity to explain actions and motives before we assume. And most people really appreciate the opportunity to be understood and to change a behavior if necessary so as not to make others feel uncomfortable.

  53. While I think this is a noble stance to take, I feel it sends a mixed message. You pick out one behavior that could be sinful (only if taken to excess) and make it out to be worse than other behaviors that could be sinful (only if taken to excess. Do you also have a policy banning your leadership team from fellowship at a buffet after church on Sunday? My guess is no. Gluttony is sin too. Seeing a person at a buffet might cause a little one to stumble. What about watching TV in a Lay-Z-Boy? A little one might think south is okay if you do that. I believe the better testimony is displaying restraint from drunkenness, sloth, malice, gluttony etc. Can my leaders show that you don’t need to be partying to drink? Can a leader go to a buffet and not have to be wheeled out of the place? Can they relax without being lazy? That is living above reproach, not hiding the fact that you like to have a beer with your chicken wings

    • Aaron, I appreciate your perspective. You have some very valid points. There are many behaviors that are harmful (and sinful) when taken to excess. Much of the reason for my stance on alcohol is based on our American culture. I don’t think a fair-minded person would equally compare the negative impact, addictive nature, and destructive power of alcohol to that of a Sunday afternoon buffet. It is so true that overeating and lack of focus on physical health is a major issue, and that was a focus on a different blog post – http://www.briandollar.com/2013/12/30/too-many-pastors-are-overweight/ . As I stated in this blog – this is my policy for my team. It is not my intention to demean or belittle anyone who does not take the same stance. Thanks for weighing in.

    • Thank you Aaron. What this post is saying, in a nutshell, is that it is clearly not sinful to drink alcohol, but that leaders should hide the fact that they drink alcohol from their students. Putting on a false front, wearing a mask, call it what you want, this is advocation of deceit.

      • Thanks for input, Randy. But, I think you read the article too quickly. You may have missed the line that I stated: “My leaders also know that it is my preference and desire that thry not drink alcohol AT ALL.” I wouldn’t call that “an advocation of deceit.”

        • Yeah Brian, I did read that your preference is for them to not drink (as Jesus did) at all, but you are clear that although you prefer their abstaining, you are most concerned with them hiding any drinking from the kids… Drink if you must, just don’t do it in the light. Act publicly like you abstain, even if you don’t. Hide it if you do it. Ugh.

          • Hmmm…I don’t “hide,” what I do to anyone. I am very upfront about the fact that I drink socially and I drink in my home, but if I were asked to dinner at a friend’s house who does not drink, for whatever reason, I certainly wouldn’t bring along a bottle of wine. I think what is happening here is that we are trying to respect the thoughts and feeling of others above our own. Correct?

  54. Not drinking doesn’t make one “holier”, as alluded to in the article.

    Frankly, some Christians make drinking too big of a deal by prohibiting it, either in a hard line way (totally prohibiting) or in a more passive way (leaders prohibitted). By doing so, they make it more attractive to some….doing the very thing (causing stumble) they are trying to avoid.

    Also, it smacks of hypocrisy to “allow” it privately, but not publicly.

    The bible says gossip and gluttony are sins. Are we therefore not to talk or eat so as not to give an appearance of sin and cause someone else to stumble? If we are honest with ourselves, a lot of us need to look at the beam in our own eye, mouth, fork.

    Having said all that, I’m not a drinker, and I’m not currently in church leadership, although I have been in the past. Churches do lots of things that cause people to stumble. LOTS. OF. THINGS. The more we focus our efforts on pointing people to Christ, and less effort on being Pharisees with our made up rules, the closer we are to God’s mission for us…in my opinion.

    • Just to clarify, i don’t think I alluded to not drinking making you “holier.” I did simply share that i ask those who participate on my ministry team not to drink – and the reasons for that. None of them were to “make them holier.”

      • This line was the reason for my comment:

        “Being leaders and teachers of children – we have to have a MUCH higher standard of holiness and behavior. ”

        I believe you are well intentioned and well meaning. But I dont believe in levels of holiness…God is holy, and only through Jesus are we made holy. Or, to put it perhaps a better way, some of us sin more than others…but through Jesus all our sins are forgiven.

        And not to beat a dead horse, but childhood obesity is a rampant problem. Do we therefore not allow obese adults in ministry, so as not to validate overeating to their impressionable minds?

    • Wow…these are all such interesting perspectives. Correct me if I am wrong, but your reason for the rule is to prevent confusion for our children and youth. The fact of the matter is that although seeing adults have adult beverages on occasion is familiar to my son, it may be something that another child is taught is bad. I was the later, and for that reason, I have a huge problem with judgement in general, for any reason. We are all sinners and as Christ followers I think we all realize that. I completely agree with your point, but the author is not condemning, the author is preventing confusion. I am going to assume that the author would address problems with gossip among his leaders and gultony as well…in a manner that is loving, supportive and appropriate.

  55. When I stand before my Savior (who gave up His rights) to receive my rewards, will my desire be:
    I wish I could have drunk more? or
    I wish I could have lived an even more consecrated life?

  56. Very well-written piece, which clearly states your position, reasoning and logic on the topic of alcohol and being a leader in children’s ministry. I can’t find anything to disagree with here. Alcohol just isn’t a NEED, like food or water. It doesn’t cure anything or help anyone and it causes much more harm than good. To say it’s a ‘sacrifice’ not to drink it, isn’t really true. Giving up meat, or dairy…now that would be a sacrifice.

  57. I know I could be opening a huge can of worms with this, but why not teach children how to drink responsibly? I’m not saying “Let’s have a Sunday where kid’s church is all about how to drink without getting drunk!” That is a TERRIBLE idea. However, I AM suggesting leaders provide a good example of drinking in moderation, of stopping before they get tipsy, of drinking alcohol because they like the taste and not because of how it makes them feel. They see enough bad examples in the media; why not give them a good one?

  58. Romans 14:21-22 says it all as far as I’m concerned for those in leadership and for those who profess Christ as Lord of their lives. One reason I choose not to drink is because while it may not be addictive for me… what about others who see my example. I grew up with an alcoholic step-father. Obviously others in his family were able to drink without becoming alcoholics….he wasn’t. His life was one tragedy after another. He could have had a full, happy life except for the alcohol. It finally defeated him and he died a lonely man with nothing. If he had not taken that first drink I wonder how different his life, my mother’s life, and my brother’s life would have been. In my personal perspective, I don’t want to be the example that says drinking is OK. Personally I don’t see a need for it. I am happy in being the person God made me to be without any stimulants to change me. I experience the abundant life that Christ promised each day of my life because I gave my life to Him.

  59. I totally agree. I am currently not in a leadership position at my church, but I do teach Kindergarten in public school. I was also a school administrator in TX. I completely understand the high standard and the ability we have to impress upon young (and old) minds the responsibilities of leadership. I am so very flawed, and sometimes I fail, but my goal is to use my failure to teach others how to avoid it. I think your rule is absolutely correct, especially since it is sincerely a requirement that means to protect our little ones from confusion and questions, AND to prevent them from questioning our commitment to follow Christ. That said, I do drink, but most often I am very careful not to cross the line, and on the occasion that I might, I am safe and in a private environment.

  60. I am bothered by idea that God might refer to you as “having too high of a standard of holiness that you kept some people from choosing to serve.” For starters, there is no such thing as “too high a standard of holiness,” but that is beside the point, as this phrase implies that drinking is involved with holiness – which I personally at least do not believe it to be keeping “some people from choosing to serve” may not be the only repercussion of holding such a standard. For those working with high school aged youth, this adherence to such strict rules may actually act as a barrier to a leaders ability to form relationships and attract youth to their program. We live in a culture where drinking is no longer considered a “bad thing,” and a leader that appears to do so risks turning away many youth who could have otherwise grown closer to Christ by their relationship. Drinking is certainly not significant to Jesus’s message of love for God and each other, why, then, should we let our personal and admittedly biblically unstable opinions on it impact others potential to hear this message?

  61. Great article and great discussion in the comments! For 3 years now I have had a guilty feeling because I told one of our pastors that I didn’t want a particular couple serving on my leadership team because they consistently posted pictures of their parties and drinking habits. I needed leaders; he recommended them and I have felt bad for giving that as my reason to say no until I read this. I want my team to hold to a high standard! I do not have a policy on drinking, but I do look at people’s lifestyles before asking them to be a part of my leadership team. Thanks for this great insight. It’s nice to know I am not alone!

  62. Who better to teach responsible drinking (because you know most will drink at some point) than a trusted leader. In the British High School my sons attended there was a bar. Teachers, house parents and headmaster taught responsible drinking. My oldest boy is always the one who watches after friends who may drink too much.
    A leader taught him. People he trusted. He has remembered that lesson about responsibility.
    I know where I grew up, I would have never trusted the advice about drinking from someone who never had a drink. My first thought would have been, “What do you know about drinking?” My dad has his three beers a night and has never strayed from his love of Jesus Christ.
    Just something to think about.

  63. We are in the world but not of the world. As a Christian, I must hold myself to a higher standard. What sets me apart from the world? As a Christian leader, I must go beyond even that. I must be above reproach. To whom much has been given, much is required.

  64. Excellent!! When it comes to alcohol, there’s a lot more negative that can be said about it than positive! Thank God that you are a Godly example and that you encourage your leaders in that direction!

  65. I agree with you Brian, we are to be examples to the children. It’s sad when we use scripture to make ourselves feel better. It’s clear in the bible do not be a drunkard. It says you can drink and don’t get drunk. I choose not to drink. I believe if we are in Leadership we do set an example to the younger kids. I sure would not want to make a little one stumble. We will be accountable. I agree with you Brian.

  66. alot I could say….. I will keep it short. It’s time for Christians to stop asking what I can get away with and still be a Christian instead what could I do away with to be a better one.

  67. Respectfully, I’m struggling with the idea of what can I do away with to be “a better christian” Is there such a thing? I may be mixing semantics here and your intent was probably meant as “better leader” I feel more comfortable with that. The basis of Christianity isn’t what we do or don’t do (Romans 3:20). It’s that God shows his amazing grace, love and mercy to us. It’s not about what we do or don’t do; it’s what God’s already done for us. As a leader I may make decisions to do away things that could potentially be harmful to my leadership, and many of these things that are not sinful.

    • Yes you are right. My purpose is to speak of being the best leader of children. I clearly stated my purpose was to avoid the topic of “should Christians drink.” Not the purpose of this article. But to your point, you are correct – we don’t earn salvation. However, I think you can certainly point to many things that the word of God says to do away with in order to become a better follower of Christ.

      • ” I think you can certainly point to many things that the word of God says to do away with in order to become a better follower of Christ.”
        This is simply not true. There are no “better” or “worse” followers of Christ. We are all saints. He made us this, we don’t make ourselves “better followers”, we can’t! IT ISN’T ABOUT WHAT WE DO/DON’T DO! That is blatant legalism, plain and simple. Legalism doesn’t only apply to “earning salvation”, it also applies to “becoming better/holier/etc”.

        • Well, Randy – my goal is not to get into an argument. So, I will pose one question and allow you to share your thoughts. If “it isn’t about what we do/don’t do” – what is Paul speaking of when he refers to “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” in Philippians 2? Certainly we depend FULLY on the power of God to accomplish anything that is of His nature and His will, but to suggest that our choices and actions have nothing to do with obedience and eliminating sin from our lives seems to be missing something. I welcome your thoughts…

          • Thanks Brian. That’s a great verse and question. I think it’s easier to understand if you include the rest of the sentence. It is God that works in us. He is the vine, we are the branches. We “work out” what He is working in us.
            I don’t think this verse is telling us to be afraid of God or to be afraid that we might not be good enough (obey enough or eliminate sin enough).
            It sounds like you are suggesting that obeying more and/or eliminating more sin gets us something. If so, I’m curious what it gets us? What does it (our effort) accomplish that Christ did not? I think we agree that our forgiveness and salvation doesn’t hinge on how we do, but we disagree because you think being better makes us “better Christians”.
            I agree that our choices and actions matter, but I believe our choices/actions work themselves out as we focus on His work in us instead of focusing on our work and the sin that He has already taken away. We can fail to obey, but doing so changes nothing about our spiritual identity in Christ, nor will it result in us being second class citizens in heaven. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard friends say “I’m such a horrible Christian because I haven’t _____ for a week” or “I stink at being a Christian because I keep ______”. This breaks my heart because these saints are convinced that their spiritual condition depends on their work instead of being the result of His work in them. “Failing” allows the shame and guilt the accuser heaps on them to stick, and “succeeding” brings the same self-righteousness that the Pharisees were famous for. And the whole time, their focus is planted firmly on themselves, their behavior, their effort. 🙁
            I don’t think Paul ever says “stop doing X so that you will be/become a better follower of Christ”. Instead, He says “stop trying to attain your goal by your human effort” and act like the Saints He has made you. Be your new self, live by the Spirit, quit going back to rules/regulations. He works in us as we rest in Him. So awesome!
            Thanks for the convo. 🙂

          • Well I honestly can say I agree 100% with what you have said here. Perhaps the idea of “better Christian” (which I can’t find anywhere that you are quoting me as saying that phrase”) is the right wording. Perhaps “more obedient” is a better phrase. I agree it matters not in our identity in Christ or our being “lower class citizens”, but I do believe the goal is to become more like Christ. We cannot do that in and of ourselves, but we have a part in it and must always strive for it. “Closer walk with Thee” I am with you tho – it’s all about “abiding in the Vine”

          • Brian,

            Just to follow up I want to thank you for tackling the subject with great humility and keeping a positive non-argumentative tone throughout it. (something easy to lose in “typed” forums). It’s been provocative, but civil and is good healthy discussion.

  68. I would like to encourage those in your blog. Yes, there are those who say, “Drinking alcohol, as long as you don’t get drunk, is not a sin.” They may point to Eph. 5:18, “Be not drunk with wine wherein is excess: but be filled with the Holy Spirit.” Paul, in this Chapter 5, starts out with commands for us as believers to followers: verses 1 and 2, “Be followers of God as children and walk in love,” (God’s love, not man’s). Our Lord gave the top 2 commandments in Mark 12:29-31. Jesus states, “The first of all the commandments is, hear O Israel: the Lord our God is one Lord, and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength: this is the first commandment.” That is a great definition of the word “follower” in verse 1 of Eph. 5. Then Jesus states in Mark 31, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is none other commandment greater than these.” Mark 31 is the definition for the words, “and walk in love”. The word “walk” has the meaning of doing/applying the Word of God. Then in verses 3 and 4, Paul points out various sins we are to avoid. Verses 5 to 7, Paul warns us to “be not partakers”. In verses 8 to 21, Paul gives us commands and instructions. In verse 18, Paul states, “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess.” Some may ask, what is “excess”? What is alcohol? Alcohol alters your body in some form even with one alcoholic drink. Some say “excess”/drunk is when the outward signs of too much alcohol is seen. But only one alcoholic drink alters some part or organ in your body. As followers of Christ, are not our bodies the temple of God within us? Why would we then want anything to alter any part of us? Then if the Christian wants the Baptism of the Holy Spirit within, which is separate from salvation, the Word says, why would you want to offend the Holy Spirit as well? (1 Cor. 6: 19-20) Was there alcohol in the ark of the covenant or Holy of Holies? No. Mark 15:19, Jesus states “If you were of the world, the world would love his own; but because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world.” Who are we to be transformed into? Jesus Christ, God’s son. Let’s take Eph. 5:2, “And walk in love.” This means DO walk in love; not sometimes, all the time. Whatever you do effects someone somehow. You quoted Rom. 14:21, “It is good neither to eat flesh nor to drink wine, not anything whereby your brother stumbles or is offended, or is made weak.” This scripture is asking us to take the higher ground, the best highway. It is denying oneself for the good or betterment of others. What did Jesus do for us? He did not have to leave Heaven, but He knew that if He did not come to earth, mankind wouldn’t be able to have a relationship with Him nor enter Heaven. Jesus, our Lord, even when going through the ultimate suffering and pain, said, “Nevertheless, not My will, but Thine, be done,” Luke 22:42. Did God force His Son to leave His glory in Heaven? No, Jesus voluntarily came to give His life not just for you or me but for every human. He also came as the only example to follow and to become like Him. Let’s say someone may see you have only one drink. Perhaps your children or anyone else sees you and says to himself, “He/she’s a Christian, so that means I can have one drink; it won’t hurt.” But then he takes more, drives and is killed in an accident before he is saved. Are you accountable for your influence on that person? It is like a person, after receiving a ticket for a driving violation, is asked, “When did you break the law, before you got caught or after?” The person answered, “When I got caught.” Wrong answer. The person broke the law when he went past the speed limit. Same as with Eph 5:2, “Walk in love.” We know only one alcoholic drink effects our bodies in some form, which may not show visibly, but with many it is visible . When someone sees you, the message they get is that it is okay to drink any amount. He may then be in an accident and leave a family behind and be lost eternally if unsaved. Our actions do matter, they do influence others around us. Here are a few questions to ask ourselves before doing something: 1. Does it glorify Jesus Christ? 2. Does it edify the body of Christ (other believers)? 3. Is it a good witness to non-believers? 4. Does it interfere in our relationship with Jesus or the work of the Holy Spirit in our life?

  69. Great topic for discussion. On one hand, the Bible doesn’t forbid drinking wine or any kind of alcohol, it also says don’t be drunk… Yet, on the other hand it does say in 1st Corinthians 8:9 “Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak.” (Niv)
    We must take great strides and know that others – especially children are watching those of us in ministry. While I don’t know if I agree or disagree in it being ok to have a drink every once in a while… I do agree those in ministry to kids and teens need to hold to a higher standard… For the kids look up to those leaders for biblical guidience.

  70. GOOD WORD. I agree 100%. As born again Christians we shouldn’t try and find loopholes in the bible to justify our sins. If one must do that, they are clearly sinning. People will justify their drinking because Jesus turned water into wine, so what! Why would you want to partake in something that has brought so many pain and heartaches to our communities. The negatives far out weight any positives if there’s even any.

  71. I definitely agree with Brian. I stay away from alcohol all together because of distant past issues with it, but it is not for me to have the debate about whether it is a sin. As leaders, especially children’s leaders we do need to be very mindful of the life we are living and that we are pointing our kids in the right direction. Children these days have so much more on their plate, so we as leaders need to walk the walk in their eyes. A walk that leads to holiness.

  72. I am a youth leader as we’ll and thought about this often. My point of view is that… ” whatever you are doing or have done, you are influncing others.” Because the word of God says to be sober minded, I have chosen myself to not do it. I want a clear conscience when my youth asks me about alcohol. I refuse to be double minded in what the word of God says. What it really boils down to is, ” what convicts you?” If your body possess the living spirit of God and He calls you to be pure, Holy and blames before Him, than alcohol is surly out of the question.

    • Romans 14:1-13 Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters. One person’s faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them. Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand.

      One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind. Whoever regards one day as special does so to the Lord. Whoever eats meat does so to the Lord, for they give thanks to God; and whoever abstains does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone. If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living.

      You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister[a]? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. It is written:

      “‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord,
      ‘every knee will bow before me;
      every tongue will acknowledge God.’”[b]
      So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.

      Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister.

      What Paul is telling the Romans is that we can’t let what we eat or drink become the issue. The issue is being sensitive to the people who you serve and reach out to with the Gospel. I will not take my Jewish friend out for a ham sandwich or my Catholic daughter-in-law for a steak dinner on Friday night. I will not go out for drinks with someone who has an alcohol addiction. I am sensitive to the fact that other faiths have made declarations about food and drink, and when I am in your presence, I will not behave in such a way that does not honor those beliefs. I gauge from the comments here that most of your faith’s require you to abstain from alcohol. I respect that. My faith does not. If you and I are out together, I will not drink in your presence, because I honor your beliefs. My faith does not require me to abstain from alcohol. The bigger issue here is not whether you drink or not drink, but making a blanket statement that drinking is a sin, and that you can’t possibly be a christian and drink. Again, if your faith requires you to abstain, by all means, you should, and expect your leaders to do so as well. Paul was trying to teach the Romans to not get hung up on rules and regulations about what you eat and what you drink, but on loving each other, and worrying about our own account that we have to give to God. Stop all of the judgement of your fellow believers in Christ and work together for the benefit of God’s kingdom.

          • I know you were not intending to get into the argument of whether it is a sin for a Christian to drink or not, but in your statement of “leaders cannot drink” statement, you are saying just that. Because if it is not a sin, why would you prohibit it? You’re creating rules for the sake of making people feel like they are somehow “more Christian” than others – I know that is not your language but it is the spirit of your language – and we cannot do anything on our own power to make us any MORE Christian. As a leader, the only thing I am called to a higher standard for is knowing scripture well enough that I am not leading others away from God with false teachings, or teaching them a Gospel that is not true.

            1 Timothy 4:1-5New International Version (NIV)

            4 The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. 2 Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. 3 They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth. 4 For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, 5 because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.

  73. As I read your article about serving in children’s ministry and drinking alcohol I couldn’t help but to grin. You and I share very similar beliefs in this area. I serve actively in children’s ministry as a volunteer and have for several years. As a leader of the children I get invited to a lot of birthday parties and then eventually family events and so on. Most of my friendships in our church started because of me being the child’s small group leader. My relationships with the children I set an example for are near and dear to my heart. I said all of the above to say this…

    There have been numerous times I have been invited to an event where alcohol is being consumed while children of the church are present. I do not drink but the parents of SOME would make statements such as “one drink won’t hurt you” or ask me to explain my reason for not drinking. Is it legalistic? Am I holier than thou? Was I an alcoholic? The answer is, it is none of these.

    What a lot of people do not understand is church not only needs to be a safe place for adults to turn to when they are hurting but also for our children. As leaders we can’t go to events where our children are and act a fool and expect them to have the same level of respect and trust when they need someone to talk to. A person does not have to get drunk to act a fool – alcohol lowers our inhibitions, we are much more likely to say or do something we most likely would not have done or said with a clear and rational mind.

    As a children’s leader I have held the hand of many kids who have asked me to pray for a parent to stop drinking, stop smoking, stop living unmarried to another person… The parents or ministry leaders who have an issue with not having higher expectations with the volunteers in ministry (especially children’s ministry) need to listen to the prayer requests of more of our children.

    One last statement I would like to make is – I don’t think we should do anything in the privacy of our home or behind the scenes that we would not want our children or other church members to see. Whether it is drinking or whatever the case may be. It is wiser to stay away from such things than to find ourselves trying to explain to a confused mind how “technically” we didn’t sin.

  74. Leaders are held to a higher standard. Especially leaders of children. Am I free to consume said drink. It really dosnt matter. Paul speaks of deniying himself liberties to keep from causing others to stumble. This is an example of the selfless life that Christ shows us. The story of Samson the judge God raised up gives us another principle should we let it speak to us that his mother was instructed he was to be a Nazarite. One of the stipulations was not to cut his hair and not to drink. Samson was very strong and he destroyed the enemy at every turn. Could it be that Gid is showing us that although it may be allowable to drink we could be stronger and more effective should we choose not to.

  75. Totally agree with this. We ask our leaders not to drink as well. It isn’t about it being a sin, but more about confusing people should they be seen in public drinking.

  76. Totally agree. I have used this thinking (which to me is biblical) to discourage leaders from drinking for years. I’ve never had an issue with this until recently. It was easily resolved though. I truly believe that most every person who wants to impact the lives of children will agree to abstain from this and other things as well, or they will not serve. Makes God sense.

  77. Brian,

    Nothing new here but a reaffirmation of a tired old position in many super conservative SBC churches. What about church leaders that are overweight? What about church leaders that have a quick temper What about church leaders that can’t control their own household? What if they have family members that work for beer companies? Is that a no no? Can we make a living off alcohol? Or is that verbotin too? You have to be careful not to draw lines where there are none over issues that are not the Gospel.

    • Exactly. This is 100% pure legalism IMO. Jesus drank alcohol. Jesus gave alcohol to drunk people. Jesus didn’t hide anything from anyone, and asking “leaders” to hide their Christ-like drinking from kids is asking folks to be dishonest and hypocritical.

  78. I started going to a new church after my regular pastor was trnsfered to another state, this new church was the same denomination. during an event which I was invited to and have dinner I noticed the pastor was drinking a large schooner of beer. I thought what would I tell my children when they ask “If its o.k. for the pastor to drink beer why will you not let us”…I had already decided not to continue going to that church, I have not found one yet that I am satisfied with and therefore doing my Bible studies a my home. The world is filled with evil I do believe, God protect me when I have to go outside.

  79. I agree with you completely. When we choose to stand as leaders we should expect that sacrifice comes with the territory. If we get our noses out of joint because we are asked to live by a higher standard, than we should rethink our decision to serve in a leadership ministry. If you don’t want to give up the habit…don’t lead. But if you believe the ministry you are doing is of eternal value, i.e. the shaping of young hearts and minds to follow Christ… than you’ll be willing to do what it takes. Thank you for holding your ministry team to such high standards. I am sure your children are blessed by their sacrifice.

  80. I am so glad I came across this post. Lately I’ve wondered a lot about this. I am a female who works in the car business and is also a full time volunteer with teens at risk. More often times than not I find myself closing deals sitting at a bar of a restaurant. Never thought anything about it since I only drink two beers max. But lately Ive wonder what would my ministry members of directors think if they saw me drinking beer at a bar. I know i am not being inmoral but I also understand that many of the kids we work with have had their lives ruined because of alcohol. As of right now, I have made the decision to stop consuming alcohol in public places.

    • I have a real problem with Youth Minsters drinking. Especially one professed to have a problem with drugs and alcohol when he was younger. I was very disappointed to see him at the bar at an event recently. It hurt me a lot.

  81. I thank you for your post. It IS a high calling to be a ministry leader and sobering accountability for the sheep. Your stance on it stumbling the sheep is refreshing to me, in a time when I hear of youth ministers drinking with their young adults. It’s disheartening. And scary, for they will give an account for it. I pray that those who read this post and are in leadership, with leaders training under them, will take to heart these things written and follow your example. Grace and Peace

  82. I really like the way your standard is worded. I think it forces the leaders to decide to make smart choices on their own. Rather than some ministry positions where the contract/agreement says they must refrain from alcohol completely. It is not so much a heart decision as a legalistic decision when someone has to sign an agreement like that. The policy for your ministry leaders is well-written in that the leaders will learn to make heart decisions.

    I am currently moving from being an adult in a regular career to being more involved in full-time ministry. However, some of the places I’d like to work require me to not drink alcohol at all. I know I’m going to have to give up drinking as much as I do when I take a job as a leader in ministry. But to have to sign something saying I’ll give up drinking completely does two things to me: (1) I’m afraid to sign because I’d be changing my lifestyle, and what if I mess up? What if I give in and have a glass of wine at home with my family to celebrate a holiday? If I break my contract, I’d feel so guilty. I don’t think I’m strong enough to sign something like that at this point in my life. (2) Part of the reason I don’t think I can give it up completely is because I’m following a rule, not my heart for God. Again… if the policy is worded that the leader will “strive to live a holy life and avoid habits that diminish my personal testimony” it make the leader make heart decisions for God when it comes to alcohol consumption. Much better policy.

    • When Jesus said I will make you fishers of men, he didn’t say but you can come back to your old life style on holidays and weekends. Follow me! I believe drinking at various occasions could be the evil one trying to gain a toe hold. It isn’t about you, but your actions.