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3 Ways Your Church Might be Paying “The Porn Tax”

Last Updated: May 10, 2023

Have you been to a struggling church before? You know—a group of people who show up more or less every Sunday morning, but it’s like pulling teeth to get anyone committed beyond that? Or maybe there is plenty of involvement, but it’s perfunctory, lifeless, and lacking energy. I’ve talked to a lot of pastors who share this experience.

When I read The Healing Church, I found a common denominator to many of these struggling churches: secret struggles with porn. Porn is one of the great underminers of the Church in the United States. It’s like an income tax on the fruits of your ministry labors. By the time the “Porn Revenue Service” has collected its dues from your people, you’ve got hardly anything to show for your work. Sam Black’s new book The Healing Church explains why.   

MANY Christians Are Struggling With Porn

Sam Black writes:

“About two-thirds of Christian men and a third of Christian women say they have an ongoing struggle with porn, and 69 percent of pastors say porn has adversely impacted their church. But only about 7 percent of churches offer any kind of support resources to their congregations” (page 6).

In our work at Covenant Eyes, we hear from many of these struggling Christians who come to us because they feel that pornography is hurting their relationship with God. They are paying the porn tax in their own spiritual growth and vitality. Black says:

“A study at a Christian university found that among Christian students who use por­nography, 43 percent of men and 20 percent of women say their pornography use worsened their relationship with Christ” (page 8).

Porn Usage Coincides With Declining Church Attendance

We’ve had lots of data related to Christians and their porn usage for quite a few years now. But what do the stats mean for the Church? Black reports the sobering conclusion:

“In reviewing several studies, researchers found that an increase in pornog­raphy use is significantly related to reduced church attendance, diminished faith, lessened prayer frequency, and diminished feelings of closeness to God. At the same time, porn use increased religious doubts” (page 8).

If you’ve bemoaned declining church attendance and the increased secularization of younger generations, a lot of evidence points to porn as one of the major culprits.

Struggles With Porn Are Robbing the Church of Future Leaders

It’s bad enough that the rank and file of the Church struggle with porn. But Black says that the porn tax is ravaging church leadership:

“It might seem elementary that pornography use is stripping the local church of possible teachers, volunteers, and leaders. University of Oklahoma sociologist Dr. Samuel Perry put this reasoning to the test and found the more frequently someone viewed pornography in 2006, the less likely they held a leadership position or served on a committee in their church over the next six years. But please don’t assume your leaders are safe… some people who struggle with porn and sex spend more time serving in the church to feel better about their sin” (page 8).

Learn How to Stop Paying the Porn Tax

The porn tax is a serious challenge for the Church today. The more the Porn Revenue Service collects from your congregation, the less fruit there is from your ministry. But The Healing Church does more than point out the problem—it offers hope!

What we find is that the porn tax isn’t just another ministry problem to avoid or navigate. Learning to address pornography in your church actually provides the path forward to a more vibrant and flourishing body, a launchpad to greater ministry.

In his powerful new book, Sam Black provides dozens of real-life examples of real-life churches and church leaders who stepped up to tackle the porn problem head-on. You can find out what they did, how they did it, and how to apply the same principles to help your congregation become a “healing church.”

Comments on: 3 Ways Your Church Might be Paying “The Porn Tax”
  1. Shawn C.

    “69 percent of pastors say porn has adversely impacted their church. But only about 7 percent of churches offer any kind of support resources to their congregations”

    That is a sad statistic, and one that has impacted me personally. Over the years, I’ve been to many churches, but only ONE of them explicitly offered an anti-porn ministry. The church needs to address the porn tax within its ranks as explicitly as it addresses hypocrisy or declining tithes.

    • Keith Rose

      Thanks for your comment! We agree 100%, and we hope that The Healing Church is an effective tool for doing so.

      Blessings,

      Keith

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