Boy Scouts Decision and Ministry

Greg Strand – June 19, 2013 6 Comments

I received a question regarding the Boy Scouts decision to allow boys to be members regardless of sexual orientation, and how churches who charter the Boy Scout troops ought to respond.

It is important to state at the outset that the EFCA has made no official policy or statement in response to this decision. Here, however, is my personal response. At the end, I would be interested to hear your response.

I would see two options: 1) terminate the ministry and thus not be forced to face this issue; 2) require the church policy for leaders and ministries to be enforced for this “ministry” of the church.

Since you have asked, at present I would choose the latter for the purpose of ministry and reaching those who need the gospel. As a similar application, I would guess that most, if not all, local churches have a ministry policy for leaders and students for their youth ministry. I would also guess that the leaders of that youth ministry would not deny a person who was gay from coming to their youth group. They would, in fact, want them to be there so they could hear the gospel and be ministered to in a loving, caring Christian context. But those leaders would not allow such persons to serve in leadership and they would not allow them to engage in any sinful, sexual behavior while being involved with their youth group (though one cannot control what they do outside youth group, but this is true of those who profess faith in Christ as well).

If, then, at some point in the future the BSA mandated that leaders could be leaders regardless of sexual orientation, and/or you could no longer have biblical policies in place for leaders and youth, I would not hesitate for one moment to terminate the charter, or ministry. However, until those issues would be mandated, I would be inclined to write and enforce the church’s policy and continue the ministry.

We are called to minister to all. But we are also called to have and enforce biblical standards for our leaders and for the ministries we lead and support.

Your turn. What about you? How would you respond and why?

Greg Strand

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Affectionately called “Walking Bible” by his youngest daughter, Greg Strand has a ministry history that goes back to 1982. Since that time, he has served in local church ministry in a variety of ministry capacities: youth pastor, associate pastor of adult ministries and senior pastor. He is currently the EFCA's Executive Director of Theology and Credentialing. Greg reads voraciously and never stops learning — a passion reflected in the overflowing bookshelves that spill from his library to multiple offices. And he could tell you about each of those books! His hunger for learning pales in contrast to his great love for God and for teaching the Word of God.

6 responses to Boy Scouts Decision and Ministry

  1. Chuck Carlson June 19, 2013 at 4:52 pm

    Greg, that is right on. We are called to minister to all kinds of people. Who knows who might get saved. But leadership is a different story. Then we must enforce our policies.

    • Thank you for the reply, Chuck, and for the commendation. May the Lord continue to lead and guide as you engage in strategic ministry of the gospel in the local church, which is the front-line of ministry.

  2. As an Eagle Scout, I find it difficult being silent on this one. It is sadly inevitable that the Boy Scouts of America would finally succumb to the realities of an increasingly post-modern majority. Sadly, we will see more of this in every institution that has moral right and wrong in its DNA. I did some checking on current BSA policy and found this:
    “The Boy Scouts of America maintains that no member can grow into the best kind of citizen without recognizing an obligation to God. […] The recognition of God as the ruling and leading power in the universe and the grateful acknowledgment of His favors and blessings are necessary to the best type of citizenship and are wholesome precepts in the education of the growing members.”
    The attack is now firmly against leaders. But rather than succumb to it, I would hope that the BSA would close its doors. As you say, Greg, the opportunity to “minister” is now greater than ever before. But its future is imperiled by an ever-growing precept that to stand up for what is biblically right, is wrong.
    Thanks for your post, Greg.

    • Jim, you note the reality of the day in which we live and minister, and the tension of this reality. There is much more that could have been said – and at some point should be said – about living and ministering in this day.

      As I have stated often, we are overcome with a moral tsunami. Two responses we must avoid: accommodation/capitulation or separation (and I am not talking about the importance of primary separation from sin). Instead we must faithfully proclaim and live based on the truth of God’s Word regardless of the earthly outcome.

      Ultimately we were created by God and for God, so we live by His grace and for His glory, seeking to be faithful to Him. It is much more important to please, honor and fear God and simultaneously displease fellow human beings, than it is to please, honor and fear men and women and displease and dishonor God.

  3. I get the idea, that if a youth who “is gay” goes to your youth group you’d welcome him in. As you said, that’s what we’re called to do. But what if this same youth in your troop goes up for Eagle? Do you advance him? I can’t sign off on that. It would be similar if he came to Christ, but wanted to continue to practice a gay lifestyle–or a sexually-active lifestyle of any kind outside of marriage. These are tough questions.

    Anyway, thanks very much for your blog.

    • Thank you for your comment, Jud. We stand firmly on the truth of God’s Word, we love people, and we pray for wisdom and discernment as we practically and pastorally apply these principles on the lives of and ministries with people.

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