How many of us remember “Baywatch?” The series spanning over a decade was known for it’s beautiful lifeguards jogging toward the water to save some poor drowning soul. The running joke of course was that no one cared about the plot. Guys wanted to see the very buxom Pamela Anderson and girls wanted to see guys with six packs. Here is the irony. While the beach scenes were full of two pieces, the female cast always wore a one piece.
In the last couple of weeks I have had numerous discussions about whether or not those of us in youth ministry should dictate the summer uniform of our students.
Bikinis, shorts, and tank tops are among some of what we must navigate. I recently heard someone say, “Well my unchurched kids just don’t know any better.”
The easiest approach is to just balk, “Modest is Hottest,” and move on. However, especially with our unchurched students if we merely give a list of rules, they may or may not choose to follow them. They may or may not care is they are causing another person to “stumble.” (If they even have a clue what that means.) So where do we begin the conversation?
- Teach Purity- Not Modesty
Modesty is about clothing, or covering. At the water we focus on a bikini. Yet, recently a guy told me, “If I let my eyes linger and my mind wander it really doesn’t matter if a girl is wearing a large sack.” The ongoing discussion should be on the struggle to understand purity. This deals with what we allow to come into our soul through our eyes, mind, ears and heart. It goes way beyond the clothes.
I am a firm believer in both dress codes and rules for our youth programming. Rachel Blom did a great job of spelling this out in her blog here. This is less about a set of “do’s and don’ts” and about creating an environment of standards. These ideals should be posted, and gone over often. Expectations should be clear of our consistent students. New students are informed for the next time they come. Guidelines help level the field whether churched or unchurched as to what they are “supposed” to do.
The question is less about what goes on our body and what is going on in our hearts. Our unchurched students may have never been told any of this before. Our “churched” students may have heard but never understood.Most importantly will we explain WHY this is idea is important to us? In Part 2 we will discuss three questions we must ask every student in the great bikini debate.
Do you allow bikinis in your programming?