Marijuana and your ministry has become a very real issue in recent years.
The 2014 election ushered in the legalization of marijuana in Alaska, Oregon, and the District Columbia. These states join Colorado and Washington, which legalized marijuana in 2012. Whether you’re in one of these states or not, the push for legalization of marijuana is growing all over the country. What does this mean for your children’s ministry?
I can see two questions you’ll need to answer sooner than later since the views (even in the church) toward the legalization of marijuana are changing. According to a 2013 survey from the Public Religion Research Institute, over 50 percent of Protestants surveyed favor legalizing the use of marijuana. The times—they are a changing.
Grapple with these two questions with your church leadership and team.
- What will you tell the kids? The legalization of marijuana signals to kids that it’s not the anathema our culture once thought it was. Regardless of all the anti-marijuana rhetoric, the children in at least five states (and more to come) live in a society that is finding marijuana use much more acceptable. How will you communicate to kids to “say no to drugs” when their culture is saying yes? Obviously, you’ve got the age restriction—it’s illegal until a certain age. But after that, will the Scripture about “all things in moderation” apply—or not?
- What will you do with weed-using volunteers? The answer to this question is obvious if anyone comes to your ministry high—just as it would be if someone came to your ministry drunk. But what will you do with a volunteer who uses marijuana recreationally when not at church? Again, what would you do with a volunteer who has a glass of wine with dinner? Your policies around marijuana will likely mirror your policies for alcohol.
In Christianity Today, Ben Tertian addresses this issue from a senior pastor’s perspective.