I’ll be honest… I’ve grown up in the church world all my life. Because of that I have formed certain practices, beliefs, and perspectives that have been helpful, and sometimes not so helpful requiring a bit of deconstruction you might say.
Regardless, over the years I’ve interacted with the organizational church and many of its leaders on multiple occasions which admittedly contributed some built up frustrations.
That being said, I want to reaffirm something I said last week in this post.
“Our goal this month is NOT to bash or hate on the church. Our goal is to challenge the church to strive for better in the way we handle [the topics of porn, masturbation, and sex].”
Which leads me to the point of today’s post…
If we as the church are going to effectively take on the issues of porn addiction and sexual integrity then we need to be far more focused on providing supportive communities than offering curriculums and programs.
Honestly, one thing that is evidently clear from all my years of experience in dealing with “the church” is this:
They love programs and curriculums.
Want to build a great youth ministry?
What program should we buy or adopt?
Want to increase giving?
What course or platform do we need to offer?
Want to teach people how to be faithful with their finances?
What Dave Ramsey seminar do we need to host?
Want to overcome addiction?
What curriculum do we need to purchase that we can run for 8-10 weeks that will solve everything?
Now understand this doesn’t apply to EVERY church and is a bit of an oversimplification. But, the point is this…
Many churches are hesitant to jump into the messy world of porn and infidelity unless they have a solid “curriculum” they can couple their efforts to.
I am not saying this because of an uneducated opinion. I am saying this because I have seen it over and over again.
One year ago during the height of the COVID crisis I had a large church reach out to us (Live Free) about our church partner program because their ability to meet in person had been shut down.
In my conversations with the pastor he mentioned that they were using a “course” that he wasn’t a huge fan of and needed something better along with the ability for his members to meet virtually.
I told him that we had a great solution that would give them the ability to host meetings and discussions virtually whenever they wanted and also allow them to use any curriculum they ended up deciding on.
The sticking point for them with all this was that the less desirable course/curriculum they were currently using had a nice tightly wrapped format and if they went with us they would still need to find a better education piece plus come up with a strategy for meeting over a set period of time.
I answered his objections by saying that in my opinion what was really needed was an ongoing place where their men could meet that would provide a source of support and encouragement and if they offered THAT… the curriculum and strategy could work itself out later.
Well, they didn’t really like my answer and informed me that they were just going to keep going with the program they didn’t really like and would figure out the ability to meet some other way later. 🤷🏻
This is just one instance of multiple similar conversations and scenarios that I’ve run into over the years.
The problem of course with putting such an emphasis on curriculum and format or “strategy” is that people who are struggling with this stuff in the dark, in the shadows, crushed by shame, really only care about having someone that understands them.
In other words… They want a safe, supportive community.
Don’t get me wrong.
We need to offer solid and helpful education and teaching on these topics.
We should have strategies and not run things half baked.
But if we shy away from providing the most basic need – a place of support and healing – because we don’t have the best program or course picked out we do more harm than good.
The truth is until men and women feel loved, accepted, welcomed and encouraged to bring their messy lives to the table, they won’t engage with your fancy programs anyway.
Because at the end of the day our most basic needs as human beings are connection and safety, not an 8-week study with really great teaching.
BY THE WAY…
If you are a man struggling with these issues and still looking for help and a safe place to begin these conversations, join our upcoming FREE 10 Day Freedom from Porn Challenge that begins May 24th.