If the number one question we get about our outreaches to adult conventions is, “How do you do that” then the number two question is undoubtedly, “How do people react to you being there?” While we recognize that joining a missions trip to a porn show is not for everyone, the answer to question one is basically Jesus. Jesus tells us to simply go, so we do, and he in turn is faithful in enabling us to achieve the mission he has called us to carry out. The answer to the second question is not so straightforward. In fact, there is no single answer except for it’s a “mixed bag” of reactions.
There are of course those who think we shouldn’t be there. Unfortunately, this opinion is expressed more loudly and often by “religious” folks than people in the porn industry (although we certainly have some detractors).
Then we have the “not sure why you are here but who cares” crowd. These people don’t really “get” the whole thing but as long as it’s not infringing on what they want to do they are fine with us being there and even will occasionally entertain us with a good conversation or two. I’d have to say that this would be the most common reaction but that’s fine because we are there to build relationships, start conversations, and connect with people instead of beating them into “holy submission.”
However, what’s really cool is that there is a third reaction we get often and that’s those people who actually thank us for being at a porn show. Sometimes it’s the convention goers, but more often than you’d think it’s the people in the industry. It’s the dancers in the hotties room who appreciate the kindness of our girls that are there to help them with their makeup, give them snacks, and just want to get to know them on a real level. It’s the porn stars who know that there is a God who loves them but hasn’t heard that message enough from the church. It’s Ron Jeremy who is still the king of porn but reached out to me when his health was in dire straights because he knew I loved him and claim to know a God who loves him as well, regardless of his chosen profession. It’s also Sammi.
At our last Edison Exxxotica outreach this past November a girl named Sammi approached one of our staff members when we were packing up our stuff. She explained that she was from Vancouver and knew of us because of her ongoing conversations with a woman named Amanda who’s led our Canadian outreach teams for several years now. Sammi went on telling us that she was involved with an organization named XOXO Erotica who recently did an art show/benefit called “XOXO Erotica With A Cause.” One of things they wanted to do, she explained, was to take some of the proceeds and donate them to a local organization that benefited the well being of those in the sex industry. Sammi stated that since they already “supported” what we do that she would like to give that money to us with the understanding that we would pass it along to one of our local ministry efforts (which we agreed to do and did do). Right there, on the convention floor, this awesome girl took out cash and gave it to our staff member and didn’t even ask for a receipt. She simply knew us and thought well enough of what we do that she trusted we would take that money and give to to the right people. Of course this type of thing doesn’t happen every show but the point is that people appreciate love. They appreciate encouragement and authentic conversations more than spiritual platitudes. They understand that even though we may not see eye to eye on the “benefits” or “consequences” of pornography use, at the end of the day we believe that there is a God who loves us all and we are there to pass that love on without conditions or prejudice.