This case study, written by Howard Culbertson, describes an actual event
Some general case study guidelines are available to aid in your reflection and discussion.
Jan can hardly believe her ears. At best, having a male stripper at a birthday party sounds like very poor judgment. At worst, it borders on immorality. Those involved are the sponsors of her daughter's youth group. What should she do?
Jan's daughter is in the youth group of a very large church. For various reasons, Jan and her husband are not completely happy with the church although they have been members there since moving to the area eight years ago. Jan is bothered by what seems to her to be a low level of spiritual intensity in church members' lives. She is disturbed by the inconsistencies she runs into between what people profess and how they actually live during the week.
Jan and her husband live in a metropolitan area. So, they have visited around to other churches of the same denomination, but they always keep coming back to their "home" church. Drawing them back are their Sunday school class and the worship services. A highlight for Jan in the Sunday morning service has always been the pastor's sermon.
One day, Beth (a friend from church) and Jan were talking about birthday parties. Beth recounted what had happened at a birthday party she and her husband had attended not long before. The party had been in a reserved room at a local restaurant. All of those present were from the church. One of them served on the congregation's governing board. Several of the couples present often serve as sponsors for youth group activities.
Beth had helped organize the party and together with another woman had hired a male stripper for entertainment. Beth said she thought it would be funny to watch the long-standing church members' reactions to something so unexpected. She had given specific instructions to the stripper that he was to only strip down to his boxer shorts. At the party, however, the stripper did his entire act (described in quite graphic detail by Beth).
While there was apparently some dismay among party-goers at how the event had turned out, not one of the church members had walked out during the "entertainment. "
Beth thought it was kind of funny that the entertainment had not turned out like the organizers had envisioned. Jan, on the other hand, was horrified.
What Jan has heard from her friend has given her serious reservations about the depth of spirituality and moral judgments of everyone at the party. She wonders about the quality and depth of spiritual mentoring her daughter is getting from these people when she encounters them as weekend trip sponsors, Sunday school teachers, and weeknight youth activity leaders.
Jan wonders what she should do at this point.
She thinks about talking to the youth pastor. But she's not sure what she should say. Should she tell him the whole story as she has heard it? Should she name those involved? Should she demand a "house cleaning" in terms of the sponsor list for youth activities? Should she say anything to her daughter?
She thinks about just walking away from the church. Yet she also feels some responsibility to help the church become what it's supposed to be. She thinks about trying to see the senior pastor. Yet, she knows he is extremely busy, and she's also afraid he'll just think she is a gossip or troublemaker.
Jan wonders if she is over-reacting to what her friend Beth thinks is just a harmless joke.
Finally, she decides . . .
- What principles should we follow in interacting with believers who have done things we think are at odds with biblical morality?
- What course of action will likely produce the healthiest community of faith?
- How do we balance "I don't want to judge them" with "We need to hold each other accountable"?
- Can you think of examples of similar situations which involve Christians making questionable decisions?
Case study discussion guide
Howard Culbertson, 5901 NW 81st, Oklahoma
City, OK 73132 | Phone: 405-740-4149 - Fax:
Updated: January 29, 2019
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Article by Howard Culbertson. For more original content like this, visit: http://home.snu.edu/~hculbert