Greg Strand is EFCA executive director of theology and credentialing, and he serves on the Board of Ministerial Standing as well as the Spiritual Heritage Committee. He and his family are members of Northfield (Minnesota) EFC.
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?