Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Prom or Not To Prom? That Is The Question In Some Churches

Being a former youth minister this time of year would come, yep, time for the prom. There would be teenagers who would go to the prom and teenagers who's parents who would not let them go to the prom and would want me to plan an alternate prom trip. The alternate prom trips we made very attractive to get as many as we could not to go to the prom but on the trip. One trip we took was a trip to Dallas and ate at a five star restaurant at Reunion Tower and went to Six Flags the next day. Others that I can remember were San Antonio ate on a river boat and went to Sea World. All trips off course where payed by the church of course.

So the question I have are: Is it bad for teens to go to prom? If so why? If not why not? Should churches make the decision? Or should it be the choice of the parent? why or why not? What do you think of alternate prom trips? Do they do good or harm within the youth group? How can you see it causing division between teens and parents? Where in the Bible does it say dancing is a sin? Are you for or against prom? Why or why not? If you are a minister would you let your teenager go to the prom if he or she wanted to go? Why or Why not?

What do you think?
Share your thoughts.


Blogger Alan said...

Great question.

We've typically provided an alternate event. Dancing has nothing to do with our decision. Sin and worldliness dominate the landscape at the public school-sponsored proms. We combine teens from maybe a dozen area congregations and put on the best party we know how to put on. Some of our teens go to the official prom for a little while and then leave to come to ours. We consistently hear from them that the church prom is far more fun. A lot of the social weirdness at the school prom is taken away when everyone present shares some spiritual convictions.

1:19 PM  
Blogger preacherman said...

The way it happened at the churches that I had been at is that the teenager had to make a choice. Either go to the prom or go on the alternate prom trip you could not do both. The trip was scheduled during the weekend of the prom. If we had teenagers that went to different schools where proms where different weekends they had to make a choice. A commitment on what they were going to do. We held them up to that commitment. Something you might want to consider or not. Just what other congregation that I have been at have done. It give the teen a choice to make. A commitment.
Thanks for adding to this discussion Alan I appreciate it greatly.

1:45 PM  
Blogger Royce Ogle said...

Just for thought....What if a young man or woman goes to the prom with another Christian, enjoys a great meal and the companionship of class mates and demonstrates to those who are not believers that believers can have fun and yet be consistant in their walk with the Lord.

In my view, people who can't be trusted to go to a prom and have to be shielded will likely not fair well two years later when at college or in the work place they must be confronted by the sin that dominates our world.

The healthier approach it seems to me is to teach our young people, all of our people for that matter, to let their light shine in the darkness.

I doubt all of those who were at the wedding party Jesus attended were devout believers.

Grace to you,
Royce Ogle

3:47 PM  
Blogger Alan said...

Royce, you make a good point. Maybe which approach is best depends on the strength of conviction of these 16 and 17 year olds--or more precisely, the strength of the weakest among them. For at least some of them, Proverbs 7 lays out a valuable principle.

4:05 PM  
Blogger Preacherswife said...

My 18 yr. old son just went to the prom last weekend. He had a wonderful time! My husband and I helped host the pre-prom dinner for 10 of his friends and all their dates. We invited all the parents over during this time to take pictures and be a part of it all. My son love's the Lord and his friends share that same love. We have had 18 yrs to lay a foundation and it has been amazing to see God work through out his life. We’ve seen him choose Christian friends, walk by faith and lead by example. Why would I think he could not do the same at a high school prom? I think so many parents in the name of "sheltering" might need to examine. When does "sheltering" become "tethering"? What a gift the Lord has trusted me with, my precious children. I have not and will not miss any part of their life; in fact, I’m going to be in the big fat middle of it all. As parents we can’t control every little thing in our child’s world, but we can be active and be involved. I’m so thankful we haven’t tethered our children. Our trust is in the Lord and He is the one in control, even at high school proms……..I’m sure of it!!

5:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


6:16 PM  
Blogger Neva said...

My parents never let me go to any activity with dancing. However, I let my children go. I always figured if I could not trust them on the dance floor, I probably couldn't trust them in the car taking that girl home afterward. (I did always remind them that wherever they went and whatever they did, they were taking the Holy Spirit along, too.) My oldest son said that "creeped him out" enough that he was afraid to be bad. :)


7:06 PM  
Blogger Wade Tannehill said...

I think by the time a kid is old enough to go to prom they ought to be making their own decisions anyway. Aren't we supposed to be equipping them for independence? Like Royce said, if their convictions are so weak by this time that you still have to shield them, how can you trust them to go to college?

If we're still having to tell them what to eat, when to go to bed, and whether they can go to the prom, something is terribly wrong. I think the key is to raise them in such a way that by the time they're that old they'll choose to make the right decision--whether that is to skip the prom or to let their light shine at the prom (And yes, I understand that the way you raise them is no guarantee that they'll do right). By this point in their lives, telling them they CAN'T do something is just asking for trouble.

Just the opinion of one who hasn't raised teenagers yet.

8:58 PM  
Blogger alan-rouse said...

Just for clarification, our teens typically make their own decisions about which event to attend. Almost without exception they end up at the church-sponsored event, though often they make a brief appearance at the school event first. Given the number and size of congregations participating, we might have 50 to 100 in attendance, so it still has the big-event feel.

9:36 PM  
Blogger Alan said...

By the way the previous post was me. Somehow I managed to get logged in to Google with an old account.

9:41 PM  
Blogger Laymond said...

Pm-If we don't trust our children to go to prom, I believe that is a reflection on us as parents. I don't know of a place where it is said dancing is a sin, that said there are those who even make eating a vulgar act. I believe the adult supervisors should be held responsible for the decency of the prom. absolutely no alcohol or drugs allowed.

9:38 AM  
Blogger TREY MORGAN said...


Good question. I'm glad you brought it up. I grew up in a time when I didn't even square dance at school during pe. But, that's not the issue.

My son went to the prom last week and had a great time. He went with a group of 7 other kids from church. They all enjoyed a great meal together, dress up in goofy clothes and hung out together. Being from a small town and knowing who the good kids are, I had full confidence in my son and the kids he was with.

At midnight when the prom ended and many kids went to parties, our youth minister opened the Youth House and invited the kids that wanted to come, a chance to come play games. He enjoyed an evening of good clean fun.

In the past, where I live, the prom was a no-no. So, my only concern was that the preception of how it looked that the preacher's kid went to the prom. Obviously no one said anything to me.

11:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perfect example of how we engage ourselves in debating over things that really don't matter in the grand scheme of things.

I wonder how many aids infected children who have lost their parents to disease and famine discuss this among themselves?

12:00 PM  
Blogger Wade Tannehill said...


Aids infected children who lost their parents probably don't discuss systematic theology or the presidential election either, but that doesn't mean those things aren't worth discussing.

It is wise to examine ourselves in relation to our culture to ask at what point we have justified our actions and sold out and at what point we have been lights in the dark.

But as I think you're warning us, it's all too easy to become sidetracked and obsessed with the "lesser" matters.

4:55 PM  
Blogger Falantedios said...

I'm pretty sure that unless we're raising our children, and helping to train the children in our wider church families, to be trustworthy slaves of Christ, they'll never grow into mature Christians who will see the need to get involved with an AIDS crisis, a crushing famine, brutally crippling world debt that cries out for a Jubilee year, or genocide in any one of several places worldwide.

So trying to learn how best to encourage and train those souls with whom God has entrusted us MIGHT JUST BE as important as the popular world crisis of May 2007.

in HIS love,

PS - Celebration is a vastly underutilized Spiritual Discipline. Our spiritual forefathers celebrated YHWH's gracious love for them with passion and vigor that would get them thrown right out of our assemblies for being indecent and out of order.

I don't like the prom trip idea, because it seems too divisive between the "prommers" and the "trippers". I like the "church prom" idea much better, especially because it would be a GREAT alternative for the unchurched kids who don't WANT to go to the keg party at so-and-so's house, but don't have any other alternatives.

4:51 AM  
Blogger preacherman said...

I want to thank everyone for their thoughts and adding to the discussion. I knew I would get many different opinions on this topic. I am young enough where I don't have to make that kind of decision yet. I believe that I would let them go to prom when it come to the time if that is what the want to do. I hope by the time they are teens that this isn't a big issue in the church. I do believe it should be the parents decision to make and not the churches because it is not a salvation issue. The only place in the Bible that I found dancing was King David Dancing before God in front of the ark.
I do like the idea that some churches are doing with having inviting teens over after prom because it is after prom that they drink, do drug, have sex, at other home parties, hotel parties and such. I also like the out of town trips. I did not see any kind of division between any of the teen or the teens parents over the alternate prom trips. We even had some from the school heard how much fun we had and the next year went to the trip instead of the prom.
Again I hope it isn't a big deal in the future as the it has become in recent years. And no, I did not go to prom. It wasn't that I didn't want to. I can't dance, just ask my wife. :-) I have no rhythm at all. Can't even clap in rhythm. My wife and I went on a alternate prom trip and my other brothers went to prom. Parents make the choice.

I think it is so wonderful that we can have differing opinions and still be brothers and sisters in Christ. Thank you so much for adding to this discussion. I greatly appreciate it. It is interesting to see where churches stand today, and even ministers. Thanks for sharing Trey.
God Bless.

In Him,
Kinney Mabry
Aka Preacherman

11:11 PM  
Blogger Adam Gonnerman said...

The youngest of three brothers, I was the only one to go to prom. During my Junior year I devoted my life to Christ (wasn't baptized for a couple of years because I didn't understand about it) and the academic result was the honor roll. I had been failing and at serious risk of not gratuating with my class. My faith somehow gave me courage to do what neither of my brothers did. My mother, delighted, heled me choose and rent a tux. I went alone but danced with a couple of girls. That wasn't the point. The point was that I wasn't the painfully introverted person I had been. So, I guess I see the prom question through a very personal lense.

7:42 PM  
Blogger preacherman said...

Thanks for sharing.
Love for you comment on any discussion.

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