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The Great Bikini Debate: Part One

 —  July 1, 2013 — 5 Comments






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.


  • Year Round Dress Code

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?

Leneita Fix

Leneita Fix


Leneita Fix is the Director of Ministry Development for Aslan Youth Ministries, a family focused urban ministry serving Monmouth County New Jersey and Haiti. She has been working in some form of youth and family ministry for almost 22 years. In addition she has launched the coaching and resource organization, Front Line Urban Resources with Jeffrey Wallace serving those who work with families living in survival mode. The early years were spent in camp ministry, suburban and rural youth groups. With the Lord’s moving the last 17 of those years have been spent ministering in three different urban areas to primarily unchurched families (New Jersey, Virginia, Florida back to New Jersey). Her responsibilities have included Bible based program direction for children ages 5-18, curriculum writing, staff training and recruiting, discipleship, resource creation and speaking to national audiences. Her passion is to raise up workers in practical, relationship-driven methods while remaining in the trenches with the youth and families she loves. Her goal is to help others understand every student living in a survival mindset can and will be transformed in Christ. One of her greatest joys is serving in ministry as a family with her husband three wonderful children, and her niece. Simply she resides among her friends in the city just living life as a family that loves being there. You can contact her at leneitafix@aslanyouth.org.

5 responses to The Great Bikini Debate: Part One

  1. I dont allow 2 pieces in my ministry. We have a 1 piece rule. If you want to wear a 2 piece, you must wear a tshirt over it.

    When I first started at my current church there were a few upset at the rule, but I’ve been here 6 years and nobody even questions it anymore.
    I also find it helps some girls who struggle with body image. They dont feel like people are looking at them or judging them based on appearance or by the fact that they might have chosen a 1 piece over a 2 piece in the first place.

    • Leneita Fix

      So true Jeff on the body image issue. Some girls are trying to “cover” their bodies because they want to hide. This allows them to know we are all created amazingly gorgeous in the eyes of the Lord, it’s us people that decide to filter people. How can we help them understand this? It’s another way to help them see. Yes we have the t-shirt rule as well- and no white shirts either. A friend of mine has a box of really goofy shirts and his rule is, “If you are wearing a two piece and don’t have a shirt, here you get to wear one of these.” It keeps it consistent.

  2. I live and serve at the beach. We always get push back on the no two-piece (or one piece that looks like a two piece) guideline. (And usually from parents who contend that they can find no cute one piece bathing suits).

    My response? Good!! Find the ugliest one you can!! :)

    Great wisdom, Leneita – and I LOVE ‘teach purity, not modesty’.

    Our year round guideline is ‘we want you to wear underwear…but we don’t want to see it.’

    • Leneita Fix

      Thanks so much Darren! Yep- I’ve been told the same thing on the “cute bathing suit.” I love the “we don’t want to see your underwear!!” Awesome!

  3. I would also throw in the comment when talking about one piece vs two piece that if they don’t want to see me wearing a 2 piece then they should not wear one :)

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