Church Abusing Kids With Root Beer


Root -beerShe’s one
mad mom. “With soda, you’ve crossed a line. That was my son’s first
drop of soda. And it was given to him AT CHURCH, of all

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The furor hit social media, blogs and a television talk show site over the past week. It all
started when a California “mommy blogger” sent her six-year-old son
to a local church’s vacation Bible school.
The boy, a soda virgin, tasted his first root beer float. At
The mom wrote: “Soda should not be served to six-year-olds.
This should not have been in the curriculum. I find it disgusting
that my son now associates God with soda.”
Others joined the fray:
  • “I’m very nice and easy going…until you feed my child soda
    without my permission. Then I’m not nice anymore.”
  • “Has soda and sugar consumption become the last accepted form
    of addiction?”
  • “Fundamentalist Christians are by far the heaviest of all
    religious groups.”
  • “I’m not a churchgoer, but this whole experience has left a bad
    taste in my mouth.”
Then others chimed in with alternate opinions:
  • “I certainly hope you wouldn’t begrudge volunteers at a soup
    kitchen for giving the homeless people a cookie with their
  • “I’m terrified to plan our VBS snacks this year because I feel
    like someone is going to be angry with me.”
The snack in question is one suggested in Group’s 2012 VBS program, “Sky.” Other
suggested snacks in “Sky” are popcorn, strawberries, pretzel
sticks, cheese and grapes. However, churches are free to serve
whatever they wish during their VBS programs.
Conducting ministry in these days of heightened parental
concern for child safety presents ever-changing challenges. From
food allergies to scares over sugar, salt, gluten, food coloring,
dairy and meat-it’s hard to spend as much time on spiritual
With all the fears of the day, what are our kids learning about
faith in God? Are we as concerned with their spiritual health as we
are with their dietary health?
The mommy blogger wrote, “This isn’t something I think would
follow the saying WWJD.” When it comes to refreshments,
 what would Jesus do? I suppose some would say he’d turn wine
into water.
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Finding Help in Smaller Churches

About Author

Thom Schultz

Thom Schultz is an eclectic author and the founder of Group Publishing and Lifetree Café. Holy Soup offers innovative approaches to ministry, and challenges the status quo of today’s church.


  1. Children's Ministry Magazine

    We are doing the same curriculum. Some years we have toned down the sugar content on certain snack suggestions, or replaced processed foods with more fruit and whole foods. We also serve only snack sized portions.

    When we do one of the Holy Land series, we bring in foods that were eaten in Jesus' time. The kids have eaten figs, dates, hummus, olives, and pomogranates. Some kids are adventurous and try them, others are reluctant and just watch. (Same goes for volunteers!) Either way they learn about the source of the food and see how it is prepared.

    No matter what we serve, we send out the snack plan in advance. That gives parents a chance to speak up, or decide that they would like to send a snack from home for their child on a particular day.

    Because we're very aware of the danger of food allergies, we ask for that information on the registration form. Sending out the snack list before VBS is another checkpoint for the parents to identify any issues to us in advance.

    When everyone works together, it's a wonderful week. Don't lose sight of the goal!

  2. Children's Ministry Magazine

    I think that the focus is in the wrong area. Paul said that he became all things to all men so that some might be saved. He upset some people doing this. I am sorry that this mother was offended. I would hope that I would never be responsible for offending anyone, but I am also aware that there is no way that I will ever be able to make everyone happy.

    That being said I think that the real problem here is that we forget what is really important when we argue over such things. We do have an enemy, but soda is not it. I commend this parent for being so plugged in to the well being of her child that she would keep a close watch on the foods they eat. However, it's one glass of soda. If mom doesn't want the child to have soda, then that church is now aware of her preference and I'm sure won't do it again. The child is not going to be damaged for life from a single serving of soda.

    We do have a real enemy and he WANTS us to argue about things like this. When the church fights each other, then we can not fight him. This is his plan. He wants us to focus on things that have very little eternal meaning so that he can distract us from the eternal stuff. As the church we are quite willing to do the devils work for him.

    When we argue over things like the style of music, the color of carpet or pain, or even the proper snack to serve, then we are feeding right into his plan. Here is why I say that:

    1.) When we are fighting with each other, we can not fight him.
    2.) When we fight with each other, especially when it becomes this public, we cast a bad light on the church and we hide the gospel instead of spreading it.
    3.) When we are fighting each other, then we are not loving each other. Jesus said that people would know that we are His by our love for each other.
    4.) When we are fighting each other, we CAN'T love those outside the church. From the outside looking in those that we want to reach are left feeling that there is now way we could possibly love them, we can't even love each other. And, their right. If we can't love those that believe what we believe,then how can we ever learn to love those that don't.

    I've read the end of the book, we win. This is not in question, but what is in question is the number of people that we will get to take with us into eternity. Arguing over things like this only hurt what God has called us to do. I have made mistakes in ministry and I have offended peope and I have hurt their feelings. It is not my goal and it doesn't mean I don't care about them, their feelings, or their convictions. Rather it just means that I am human just like everyone else. Now, I don't use this as an excuse to do whatever I want and when people get mad just defend it by saying, "I'm only human." Rather, I do approach my ministry knowing that sometimes I am going to upset people. When this happens I make it a point to appologize and learn from the situation. I will not always change my policies or practices because of a single person, but I will always concider their views and feeling and I will learn from the situation.

    Matt N.

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