I just read a confession here on the site, and it gripped my heart.  I posted the first part below, but head there for the rest of the story.

“I am married with 2 small little girls whom I adore. I grew up in church and regularly attend with my family. I’ve know the Lord for some time now and never thought I had a problem. My wife and I used to have the best “intimate” time together. After our 2nd child things pretty much went sour and sex became a major source of arguments in our marriage. I have been visiting porn sites on a daily basis for quite some time now…”

As pastors and shepherds, called by God to teach and lead His people, it should grip our hearts that this man has been struggling in isolation for “quite some time now” while regularly attending church and being a part of his faith community.  It certainly could be that his church has many resources available to help, easy and safe accountability structures to plug into, and teaching from the pulpit that communicates realness and transparency… and he just hasn’t yet made the move towards that help.  But more likely, his church leaders probably haven’t gone enough out of their way to create the kind of environment where this kind of confession can easily come out.

How can we create an environment in our churches where families can get quicker access to help?  Here’s 5 quick ideas – would love to hear some more from you in the comments!

1)      Stop teaching through Leviticus.  I’m not saying it’s not important.  Or that you forever kick books like Obadiah to the curb.  But we have to ask ourselves how our sermons intersect with the raw and messy realities of everyday life for the people sitting in our pews.  For many churches, it’s time to take a risk and bring this pervasive issue to the front of the room and stop beating around the bush.

2)      Publicly share your story.  Share how you were first exposed to porn.  Talk about the things you have to still do today to keep yourself pure.  Let them know you’re not immune to it just because you are employed by the church.  I still remember reading Craig Groeshel’s book Confessions of a Pastor.  He’s got an entire chapter devoted to this stuff (called “I Have to Work Hard to Stay Sexually Pure”) and he models really well how to openly break the ice with your congregation.

3)      Make plans now for National Porn Sunday on October 13, 2013.  Let xxxchurch do the teaching (via video).  It’s completely free and will certainly move your church to a place where porn can be talked about.  Check out all the details right over here.

4)      Host a Porn & Pancakes event at your church.  This men’s event for junior high boys and up is a great option for many churches.  Imagine a movement of men in your church who are not ashamed to battle this issue and protect their families from its influence!

5)      Let people know that they can’t shock you, and that you won’t think any less of them for sharing.  In fact, the truth of the matter is you’ll respect them more for their honesty and authenticity.  Repeat this line often, and after a while people will actually believe it.

Cory Hunneyman is one of the pastors on staff at Lakeshore Community Church – a church that strives to love people where they’re at, regardless of the mess.  On Easter Sunday, they’ll be starting a new teaching series called “Second Chances” – be sure to check it out!