Making Choices: Piercings in the Ministry

Making Choices: Piercings in the Ministry

This week, we are very saddened by the resignation of our Youth Leader and  his wife.   Our youth group kids are trying to process their loss and cope with suddenly being leaderless again (twice in the last year).  Certainly, we have endured a bit of hardship in trying to grow the youth group.

So what was behind this decision?  A difference of opinion it seems.  Our youth leader’s wife recently got her lip pierced and the pastor asked that it be removed.

The youth leader’s take?  Piercing is not sinful, thus his wife should be able to exercise Christian liberty and keep it in.  If the church can’t accept that, then they cannot continue to worship in a place that passes judgement on people because of piercings and tattoos.

The pastor’s take?  Though many things are permissible, not all are beneficial (1 Corinthians 10:23). As a ministry leader, there is no benefit to facial piercings.  It could be stumbling block to youth, a cause of division between parents and youth, and is certainly not professional looking.  Many secular organizations don’t allow facial piercings, why should it be allowed in the church?

What’s your take?  Is the request too much?  What constitutes being judgmental?

Resources to Check Out:

It’s Only a Tattoo

Battle Cry for a Generation: The Fight To Save America’s Youth

Timeless Youth Ministry: A Handbook for Successfully Reaching Todays Youth

Decision Making and the Will of God: A Biblical Alternative to the Traditional View

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  1. Interesting. liked the pastor’s take. I think it could be a personal expression. Could also be a tool of acceptance. Our youth are very diverse and some do have tats & earings in some interesting places. One of the youth leaders had a nose ring and she was actually used as a tool to reach those with similar outward appearances. I think it’s up to God to bring those personal convictions into ones life. The point of a personal relationship. Regardless it is a valid point for leadership. Our main plumb line should always be Jesus. He is who we ultimately want to be more like. All together it’s in our imperfections that He shines through us.

    Just posted my Christmas post. Hope you’ll pop by and have a look.

  2. Wow. I think that there are a few issues here. Without knowing more, I would take a guess that this isn’t the first instance of a lack of unity between the youth pastor and the senior (or whatever the title) pastor. I’m surprised that the youth pastor did not even think to ask senior pastor for his thoughts before this was done. Did they not think this was going to be an issue?

    Recently, a friend of mine on our adult worship team wanted to get a tatoo on her shoulder, but she asked for the counsel of the worship pastor (and other pastors) before getting it done (he thought it was a great idea). She was trying to be considerate of others, but in a church our size (3000+), we know some will probably be offended.

    Being an amoral issue, it is sad that this seems to have gone down so divisively. Not knowing the culture of the church, I would make a case that both sides are in the wrong to some extent. The youth pastor seems immature in how this was approached, and the senior pastor seems to have leadership issues.

    Our church just had a teaching on a related topic, as we are going through I Corinthians. The application was centered around drinking (which is a touchy subject in our church culture), but it could apply to a number of amoral issues (piercings, tatoos, etc)

    See the Dec 12 message here:

  3. You have an awesome site!

  4. Thanks for the comment, Rebecca. I’ll be sure to stop by!

  5. Thanks for the link, Joey. I’ll check it out.

    I think you make some very valid points. Much to your surprise, there wasn’t much of an issue between the pastor and youth leader before this. In fact, the pastor had taken the time to invest both professionally and personally in this couple, which was why he was so disappointed in their reaction.

    But you’re right, both sides could have handled things better/differently.

  6. If he believes in the freedoms that Christ gives us then I like that he has stuck to his convictions and to his wife’s decision.

    Of course things could have been handled better, but this is certainly not an issue to leave over. I think that the lead pastor could learn a little extra grace from this because I believe that the wife could use this as a tool to connect with many guys and girls who would never connect to a church otherwise.

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