by Pastor Jay Dennis
I want to speak to you pastor-to-pastor. You are the key to helping the men in your church break free and stay free from the chains of viewing pornography.
God has given us the highest privilege through our calling and position to speak blessing, encouragement, and freedom into the men we lead. Those men are battling the most dangerous, destructive temptation they have ever experienced. I promise you that every man in your church is in some way affected by pornography, either personally or with someone they know.
In a survey conducted by Lifeway Christian Resources, it was revealed that 62% of pastors believe that 10% or less of the men in their churches are struggling with pornography. But other studies prove these pastors wrong:
- Among young men today, 65-70% admit to viewing porn multiple times a month or on a weekly basis. Over 30% of young women say they also look at porn.
- One study showed that those who identify themselves as “fundamentalists” are 91% more likely to look at porn.
- More than 90% of boys and 60% of girls see porn before they turn 18.
There is usually one of three responses of pastors when it comes to the issue of pornography:
- Deny there is a problem and pretend it is not there. Unfortunately that’s what many pastors have chosen to do. It may even be they too are struggling with pornography.
- Admit there is a problem but not specifically address it. That’s what many churches and pastors have chosen to do either intentionally or by default.
- Admit there is a problem, urgently address the problem, and help men overcome their pornography struggle.
Pastor, I am challenging you to choose #3!
6 Steps Every Pastor Can Take
I remember when I decided to break the silence and address the issue of pornography; there was a sense of relief, repentance, and then revival among our men. Pastor, the majority of men are waiting for you to say, “It’s time to have the discussion.”
Will it be awkward? Yes. Will it be sensitive? Of course it will. Will some get offended? Probably. But we must broach the subject of pornography in the pew. What can you do?
1. Join 1 Million Men
We began a program in the church I pastor called Join 1 Million Men, a challenge to Christian men in churches of all denominations and sizes to live porn-free lives. This doesn’t replace counseling, therapy, or support groups, but it gets a Christian man on record that, beginning today, he is committing to a pornography-free journey. This is also for men who don’t struggle and who will dare to set the example. Go to Join1MillionMen.org and find out how to start this in your church.
2. Encourage every person in your church to install Covenant Eyes software on each of his/her computers.
You can discover on the Covenant Eyes website everything you need to take this vital step. You need both filtering and accountability software.
3. Challenge the women in your congregation to pray for 1 Million Christian men in churches to live pornography free lives.
Ask wives to pray for their husbands and mothers to pray for their sons. When wives, moms, and fiancés understand that this is the #1 threat to their marriages and children, things will begin to change. Find out more information at Join1MillionMen.org.
4. Make it a regular part of your preaching ministry to address sexual issues from a biblical perspective.
The people in your congregation are hearing from MTV, Dr. Drew, and other perspectives that present the opposite of healthy, biblical sex. Let your people hear from God on this issue. Have at least one Sunday dedicated to challenging your people to a pornography free lifestyle.
5. Encourage the Discussion.
Pastor, encourage the men in your church to have a family discussion about the dangers of pornography. Encourage the wives to ask their husbands if they know anyone who is struggling; if there is anything they can do to encourage them in their pursuit of holiness; and if they are struggling with pornography. Fathers and mothers need to ask their sons, “Have you ever viewed pornography?” Discuss biblical, sexual boundaries with your children.
6. Create an Atmosphere of “Every Man an Accountable Man”
Unaccountable men are in a vulnerable position. Encourage accountability partners and groups within the church. Start with your personal accountability and develop leaders who can organize accountability groups.
Pastor, God is holding you and me accountable for how we address our church’s number one moral issue. Let freedom begin with you!
Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jordoncooper
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Jay Dennis is Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church at the Mall in Lakeland, Florida and creator of Join 1 Million Men. Pastor Jay has been featured in Billy Graham’s Decision Today radio show as well as Christianity Today. He is the author of Dangerous Intersections: Ten Crucial Crossroads Facing the Church in America, Taming Your Private Thoughts, The Jesus Habits: Exercising the Spiritual Disciplines of Jesus, and others.