times square

It all started with a recent visit to Times Square in NYC with my family. We didn’t notice the billboards until the sun went down and the light’s went on. There she was, several stories high towering over us, a naked woman barely covering her chest and selling men’s underwear of course.

Last weekend I was traveling for a speaking engagement. Turning on the television, the first “station” was one of those where you can, “Pay for the latest movie in the comfort of your room.”  Absent-mindedly, I left it there for a second.  That’s when an attractive woman, dressed pretty modestly began to speak. Her words caught me off guard. She said, “For just a small fee you can watch adult entertainment. No spyware. No malware. You can pay in a way that no one has to know.”  In other words,  “Go ahead an watch porn. No one is paying attention.”

This sexually charged culture is in our face all of the time. Media portrays sex as something to be used, discarded and played with. There is no talk of intimacy, or the soul’s involvement in this “physical act.”.  A ChristianNet Poll, Focus on the Family Poll, and research conducted by Christian Counseling today discovered these stats for THE CHURCH:

  • 5 out of every 10 men in the church are struggling with some issue concerning pornography
  • 34% of churchgoing women said they have intentionally visited porn websites online.
  • 54% of pastors admitted to viewing Internet porn in the last year and 30% admitted viewing within the past month.
  • 50% of all Christian men are addicted to pornography.
  • 20% of all Christian women are addicted to pornography.
  • 60% of women admit to having significant struggles with lust.
  • 47% of families said pornography is a problem in their home.
  • 42% of surveyed adults indicated that their partner’s use of pornography made them feel insecure.
  • 41% of surveyed adults admitted they felt less attractive due to their partner’s pornography use.
  • 30% of surveyed adults said their partner’s use of pornography made them feel more like a sexual object.

It’s not just a set of statistics. I know people in full-time, paid ministry whose lives and marriages have been destroyed by porn. We have been told that we must be “perfect” so we close our hotel rooms, and turn on the television.

How do we deal?  If this is what is going on with adults then what do we say to youth?

  • It starts with an honest assessment of our own heart, mind and soul.  We need to be totally aware of the danger of falling into a sexual trap, at any moment.  What are we doing to protect our hearts, eyes and mind against the world that tells us, “If it feels good in the moment, go for it.”

 

  • The discussion in youth group goes FAR beyond purity.  It is talking about the way Satan is always seeking “who he will devour, “ and he will use whatever he can to accomplish this goal-  media, people, insecurity, everything. We have to be supporting the family.

 

  • We need to keep exposing the lies.  I was previewing a CW show about princesses for my teen daughter, because I had heard some things. Sure enough, the first 20 minutes included both a graphic sex and a masturbation scene. Yep, it took place in the 1800’s, and yep, my husband and I felt like we had just watched porn. Just because tradition or the culture says it’s alright, doesn’t make it God’s plan.

It’s time we all remembered that God wants more for us than this excuse for “Sex” that the world portrays. He wants us to be in wonder of the miracle he calls, “Becoming one flesh,” and the promises attached to that.

What are you doing to actively combat this sexually charged world? 

Leneita

@leneitafix

As a young pastor in Southern California, Craig Gross began to notice a recurring theme among those he cared for – a struggle with pornography. Boldly and courageously, he decided to address the root of the problem, so he went to the porn industry to ask some questions. This passion led him to start XXXchurch.com, a website devoted to telling the truth about porn. It now has had over 70 million visitors to the website and almost a half of million people using X3watch Accountability Software.

1) what are you most proud of in your work with the church and sexuality/pornography?

I am most proud that we have taken an issue that was silent in the church but widespread and in the 10 years we have been doing this we have seen openness to talk about this issue now like I never would have imagined. I find myself speaking at different churches each weekend in different parts of the country that I always ask myself.. are we sure this is the right place? Along the journey, I have met a lot of people that tell me they are accountable now using our software. Its not about the software, it is about the relationships that I believe are changed and challenged because of this conversation and that means a lot to know that we have 1 million people now using our accountability software.

2) what first steps would you challenge a youth worker trapped in addiction to pornography?

Quit your job. Seriously, because the sad part is most of you wont come clean and you will get caught eventually and then you will be fired. If you wont own up and get accountable and get some help then just quit and save yourself and your family and church and kids the heartache of getting fired. Like it or not and I am not saying I agree with this but you will be fired 95% of the times so if you want to keep your job confess. I doubt that is your senior pastor, how awesome would it be if it was but you got to fine someone safe in your circle you can talk through this with so it does not lead to you doing anything crazy offline.

3) what is the goal of Pure Sex?

There is so much fear surrounding the issue of sex and porn when it comes to talking about it. This conversation is not as scary as we have made it out to be. Kids in your youth group are talking about this with or without you. We want you to be in on the conversation and equip you with some tools and resources that will help you lead this conversation. I am excited how it turned out and think this is just an intro to something that each youth pastor can make specific to their youth group. It is a 4 week video curriculum that I think will provide some healthy teaching and conversation on several issues surrounding sex.

4) if you had a few minutes with some key volunteers or small group leaders in our youth ministry, what would you say to them? How does the Volunteer’s Backpocket Guide to Sex play a part in that?

I sometimes take for granted the information we have accumulated because of this ministry. People talk to us and ask us questions they have probally not asked anyone else. I don’t claim to be an expert and at times wont you all the right words but we just wanted to help youth workers and volunteers on a number of issues. This book I believe can sort of be like IKEA instruction manual. Depending on the item I am setting up from IKEA I might need all the instructions or just a few pictures and I am on my way. Some parts of this book might sounds elementary and others you might have no clue what we are talking about but we just thought we would share some of our knowledge and experience from working with kids and answering many of these questions over the last years.

5) anything final thoughts you want to share with youth workers?

Keep doing what you are doing. My youth pastor did youth ministry for 22 years at our church and is the reason why I am in ministry. I get bummed out these days as I don’t see a lot of youth pastors sticking around that long. I don’t know of a more important job in the church today. I know it does not pay as much as the lead pastor or teaching pastor and you don’t get to wear the fancy shoes and Vegas jeans that all those guys seem to be rocking at all their cool conferences but what you are doing is important and matters.

JG