We had a great weekend at Exxxotica NJ. Wait, can you say that about a porn show? I suppose you can if your frame of reference is relationships started in the name of Jesus. There will be more recaps posted here very soon from the rest of the team but I didn’t want to delay in getting everyone some highlights.
Our church partner for the show was Relevant NJ (www.RelevantNJ.com) which we think is a pretty cool story. The church isn’t even a year old yet and they jumped ‘all in’ to make this show happen. Their Sr. Pastor, Jeff Borkowski, has been a part of our outreaches in the past when he was a pastor on staff with Oasis out in LA. This young group did a fantastic job connecting with people who came to the show. In fact, one of the team members John has a really cool encounter. For context, John has just come to believe in Christ in the last year. This time last year a group of his buddies invited him to go to this porn show. Because of circumstances, he didn’t end up going. This year, John was working with us as part of the outreach and ran into those buddies in the lobby and then again at the booth inside of the show. With courage and genuineness he got the opportunity to tell those guys about his new faith in Christ and about God’s love that is available for them too.
On Sunday I met a guy named Ronnie. If you can, imagine Ronnie as a supporting character from the Sopranos; a legit New Jersey guy with a proud Italian heritage. He stopped by the booth and just stared at me for a minute. Then he asked the best question, “what’s this all about?” So Ronnie a talked for 15 minutes or so. He knows his scripture but he’s struggling, struggling to make the best decisions. Like a lot of other people we meet, Ronnie knows the best path for his life is following God but he admits he is lured in by the seductive nature of porn. So we talked about accountability, getting connected with a solid church like RelevantNJ, surrounding himself with other friends. I committed to Ronnie that I would be praying for him, he said “cool, I would really appreciate that. I need it.” So be praying for Ronnie. Be praying too for the other people we connected with this past weekend. Pray that each conversation we had in the name of Jesus would take root, for God’s glory.
I love walking into that environment – there’s nothing like it! I understand why people think, “Handing out Bibles at a porn show? Sharing Christ’s love at a porn show? It seems out of place.” I get that. But when you’re there, the overwhelming thought is, “THIS is where the church is supposed to be. Right here in the middle of our culture’s brokenness.” People are thirsty for the unconditional love that porn can never provide. Only Jesus can quench our thirst. So many were receptive to the Bibles we handed out. God opened doors for dozens of meaningful conversations. My heart was particularly drawn to a guy who works in the industry. I felt a tiny sliver of God’s compassion for him. I don’t know if we’ll ever meet again, but God has me praying for him regularly. I think it’s the main reason I was there this year.
It was great to get another opportuity to serve alongside X3 in a place so desperatelty in need of the love and truth of God. It was encouraging to see those from prior shows and the connection that has been made. I was encouraged by conversations I had with other vendors about religion and was reminded again of how much people just want to be heard. Words are sometimes not even encessary whn sharing your faith– how cool is that?! It angered me how deceiving Satan can be and how so many out there do not know or understand the whole truth of God. I loved the simplicity of just showing up and letting God take over, how it really is as simple as loving others where they are at– whether that be a hug, a smile , conversation or simple acknowledgement of another human being. It was great to have Relevant church alongside and their passion so down to earth and open. Even the way God provided the funds was so outrageous– I need not ask just shared from my heart about my passion for those in this industry and what X3 is doing. Thank you once again for alloeing me to share in this expierence.
This was my third porn show with XXX Church. This being my third show I saw several people I had met a previous shows and was able to continue to connect with them. The cool thing was I didn’t have to go looking for them, they came looking for us. How wild is that the men and women of the porn industry come looking for the “church folk”. I absolutely love sharing Jesus in this environment. Sounds weird I know but I honestly believe that people see us as people who care about them.
This year I had opportunity to give rides to several people who didn’t have time to wait on the shuttle. I was sitting in the lobby and heard people talking about needing to be at the convention I had my truck so I used this as a ministering opportunity.The first ones to get a ride were a man and women who worked the booth across from us and the other was the guy who was the MC for the event. Just small ways of showing kindness and love. This gave me a chance to have more time to talk and get to know these people. I thank God for these encounters. But one of my most memorable encounters was with a young man named John who said he was saved when he was young and use to be very active in his youth group. The more I talked with him I found out that he had walked away from the church and his relationship with Christ. This all stems from an accident where he lost his girlfriend who he saw his future with. He is extemely angry with God. I told him that I understand how he feels because there was a time in my life when I hated God. He listened and we talked while his cousin was talking with one of the pastors at our booth. Just before he left he told me “I feel what you are saying”. I told him that I would be praying for him as he walked off and he responded with half a smile. This is just one of many people that I was able to speak with and share Jesus and how he has changed my life. That is the cool things about these shows you connect with people from all walks of life.
One other great part of my weekend was getting to know the team from Relevant Church NJ. This is a wonderful group of men and women who are going out into their community and being the church. They are full of love and have a passion for people. I am looking forward to seeing them again in the future.
Working with XXX Church at these shows has changed the way I interact with people on a daily basis. I have started seeing others as people that Jesus loves and not seeing them just a sinners. I see them now as people who need to be shown the love, grace and mercy that Christ has shown us.
This trip was an amazing experience for me. It was my 3rd porn show & probably my favorite. We got to hobin the back dressing room where the Exxxotica girls were getting ready & do hair and make-up throughout the entire weekend. We built such great relationships with the girls that they would hug us each time we left & wanted to know exactly when we were coming back! I also had some amazing conversations giving shirts out to the porn stars. Their thankful reactions made my heart overflow. One porn star told me I love you guys, I’m a Christian & was just baptized, thank-you for your message! Another showed me her tattoo that read “faith,hope & love” and told me I know Jesus does love me! After the show on Saturday, I was sitting down for dinner in our hotel when I saw one of the porn stars I had given a shirt to. She caught my eye & called me to her table & I ended up having a 2 hour conversation about life, love, loss, God and I literally hugged her & wiped away her tears as she shared her pain. These women will forever have an imprint on my heart & I can’t wait for the next show to continue building relationships and continue loving my heart out, just the way that Jesus did!
It was one of the few times in life where I have had so much fun and been so heart-broken at the same time.
Serving with Relevant & XXXChurch was incredible. I’d have to say that it was one of the top 5 experiences in my life. The team from XXXChurch was awesome & real down to earth. It was amazing how easy & invigorating it was to share my faith & God’s love in such a foreign environment. The whole experience was surreal but I enjoyed every moment & wanted to come back the next night. The people (by in large) were great too. There was no hostility felt from the vendors, entertainers or attenders. In fact, I can’t count the number of times that I heard people say things like, “I really respect what you are doing” & “It’s great to see someone telling us God loves us instead of picketing us across the street.” One time someone actually came up and thanked us for being there! There were so many seeds planted & a lot of great conversations…I only wish I could have been there longer. I think Craig, his team & churches like Relevant really “ge t it” & that’s why they are making a real impact.
Teaming up with XXXChurch at this outreach was an absolute awesome experience. Being on the frontlines for Christ at that porn convention and bringing His love and light into that place was such an honor. Just as Jesus showed love and compassion to the Samaritan woman at the well and to the woman accused of adultery, we did the same for those we encountered at the show. It was very humbling and exciting to know that many seeds were planted that evening.
I gave away alot of postcards about xxx church and relevant chuch, stickers and the Gospel of John. I had a few deeper conversations about the real message. How do you know God loves porn stars? Are you trying to get people out of the industry? What do you mean Jesus loves porn stars? I also joined a group going around to show love and care for some of the girls in the industry bringing coffee to them and it was good to see they knew who we were and appreciated the kindness to them. It’s like a street evangelism setting but more people would take the literature or giveaways to hopefully look at again later and check out the websites. There are some images in my brain that i wish weren’t there from videos that were close by that unwittingly caught my eye.