Why you need to talk about porn at your church

Imagine a drug that is free, private, easy to access, addictive and readily available to all ages in their home or in the palm of their hand.
This drug is an epidemic, capturing people from all demographics and changing the course of their lives.

Wouldn’t we want to do something about that drug and access to that drug?

The drug exists. It’s porn.

Porn is free and easy to access. Even if someone is not looking for it, it can easily find them.
It’s highly addictive and is capturing men and women, boys and girls.
Porn is putting its hooks into people all around us and we are often oblivious.
Don’t think your “good Christians kids”, your “good Christian adults” or even your “good Christian leaders” are immune. Statistics show porn addictions are crossing all statuses and demographics.

Think of the people represented in these stats. Let this reality sink in….
• The average age of first internet exposure to porn is 11.
• The largest consumers of internet pornography are in the 35 to 49 age group.
• 90% of 8 to 16 year olds have viewed porn online (most while doing homework).
• 80% of 15 to 17 year olds have had multiple exposures to hard-core porn.
• 26 and counting children’s character names are linked to thousands of porn links (including Pokemon and Action Man).
• A 2007 University of Alberta study of students across 17 schools discovered 90% of males and 70% of females reported accessing sexually explicit media content at least once.
• In 2012, Tru Research conducted 2,017 online interviews with teens, ages 13-17, and parents of teens. The study found that 71% of teens have done something to hide what they do online from their parents (this includes clearing browser history, minimizing a browser when in view, deleting inappropriate videos, lying about behavior, and using a phone instead of a computer.)
• According to a 2013 ChildLine poll of 500 children in the UK, ages 13 to 18, 60% said they had been asked for explicit photos or videos of themselves. 38% said they had created a sext.
• According to a survey conducted by the Barna Group in the U.S. in 2014, 64% of self-identified Christian men and 15% of self-identified Christian women view pornography at least once a month (compared to 65% of non-Christian men and 30% of non-Christian women).

Statistics can be overwhelming.
Remember, each stat is a person. Their life. Their struggle.
Each person struggling with pornography, is a creation of God, experiencing the difficulty of living in our fallen world. They are fighting a temptation that the world spoon feeds them and even sends the message that it is “ok”.
Each person who struggles with porn is a human being who needs our compassion, our care and especially a willingness to stand by them while they find their way out.

We cannot pretend this is not out there.
We cannot pretend this does not affect our kids, parents and leaders.

Porn is causing such brokenness, that we often try to ignore.
It causes brokenness in our humanity, as people are seen and treated as objects for our gratification instead of being valued as God’s creation.
It causes brokenness in our relationships, as it skews our view of intimacy, of sexuality and of healthy relationships between the sexes.
It causes brokenness in our own brains. It acts like any other addictions in the brain, lighting up the same reward centres and releasing neurochemicals that make you crave more and more.

Christ has come to set us free.
So, what can you do in your ministry to join Christ in setting people free?

1. Talk about it.
Don’t pretend porn doesn’t exist. The temptation to view and participate in porn is real and is easy to step into. Educate yourself and have ongoing conversations about it in your family, children’s ministry, youth group and church.
Look for opportunities to talk about porn, wise use of the internet, and appropriate sexuality in everyday life. Be aware of opportunities that present themselves to talk about these issues – something popping up on your screen, talking about temptations that face us, something that comes up on a TV show or in the news, a friend getting pregnant, sermon illustrations etc. Purposefully invite someone into your group to share their story of overcoming a porn addiction.

When you or someone you know is caught in the porn battle, they need help. Don’t treat it lightly.
Understand this is a battle. Porn has a grip on them and they have to take responsibility to release the hold of the grip. It starts with confession to God and choosing to give it to God. But then the battle continues, as the temptation does not usually disappear instantly. Get them the help, support and accountability they need.

2. Help them develop and use tools for the battle. Here are some tools you can give to people to fight temptation in their life. Encourage them to do the following…

a. Tell someone. Bring it into the light, this battle cannot be fought alone. Counselors can be a great help to see yourself clearly and what is really going on, so you can beat this. You are not alone, get help. In research these two factors, breaking the silence and getting accountability, are the ones that help people the most.

b. Get an accountability partner. Someone that will ask you tough questions and will not let you lie to them. This includes seeking professional help from counselors and those that understand addictions.

c. Get accountability software (next week we’ll have some specific reviews and recommendations on this from Jon Dixon. Click here to read Jon’s post: How to help your home be porn free)

d. Develop strategies to help you:
• List things you can do as an alternative, when the temptation comes. Keep the list in a spot near your electronics or right on your electronic device.
• Examine when (the times and places) you are most likely to be tempted and come-up with a plan to resist at those times or to change your routine for those times.
• Have a code phrase for when you are feeling tempted and need to be kept busy. Let a trusted person know the code phrase, and when you say it, no questions asked, the person will help you keep busy. e.g. “Mom, give me something to do.”
• When tempted ask, “What am I really feeling?” and H.A.L.T. Am I Hungry, Angry, Lonely (Bored) or Tired? How do I meet that feeling in a healthy way?
• Memorize key Scripture to repeat in the moment (E.g. Psalm 119:9-16, Matthew 5:28
Psalm 119:37, 1 Corinthians 10:13, 1 John 2:16, Philippians 4:8, Ephesians 6:11-17, Psalm 119:9-10, Matthew 6:22-23, James 1:14-15, 2 Timothy 2:22, Psalm 51)

3. Pray with hope
I know, of course I’m going to say that, I’m a Pastor-right? But, if this is a battle, we need Christ fighting it for us. Get others praying too. Christ’s victory is real, He has beat Satan, death and destruction, but we need to see that victory in reality in this area of pornography. Yes, there is an industry that is spending billions of dollars to capture us and our kids into pornography, but there is also our God who is stronger than anything. His Spirit has access to hearts and minds, and is fighting for our kids and our best.
For those in the battle, know that Christ is with you in this battle. He lives in you and has already beaten sin and Satan. He is fighting this battle for you, He is rooting for you. In learning to fight this you will grow stronger in your faith and walk with the Lord. You will become better equipped to handle other challenges that come your way in life. Christ has great plans for you and good for you. He’s created you for amazing things. Christ’s dream is still big for you. Though it may not be clear now, Christ could be using this struggle to train you for big things.

Websites:
• This website is excellent for leaders, parents and students: http://www.xxxchurch.com/
http://www.fightthenewdrug.org
http://www.digitalkidsinitiative.com
http://www.challies.com/christian-living/pornolescence
http://www.focusonthefamily.com/parenting/sexuality/when-children-use-pornography/when-children-view-pornography
http://fightthenewdrug.org/get-the-facts/

Books:
• “Every Young Man’s Battle” By Stephen Arterburn & Fred Stoeker
• “Every Young Woman’s Battle” By Shannon Ethridge & Stephen Arterburn
• “Think Before you Look” By Daniel Henerson
• “Eyes of Integrity” By Craig Gross

More resources for parents:
• This site talks about what sexting is and how to talk to your kids about it: http://www.commonsensemedia.org/advice-for-parents/talking-about-sexting
• A great site for kids, teens and parents to talk about internet safety: http://www.thatsnotcool.com/
• This site helps you understand internet safety and what you can do: http://www.connectsafely.com/
• For parents dealing with the porn issue from a Christian perspective: http://www.cpyu.org/resource_topic/pornography/

Watch: http://www.cbc.ca/doczone/episodes/sext-up-kids

Hope this helps.
Christ has set us free. “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” John 8:36
Let us be about the work of joining God in setting each other free.

-Renée @r_embree

 

Stats are from:
http://www.familysafemedia.com/pornography_statistics.html
www.xxxchurch.com
http://www.covenanteyes.com/pornography-facts-and-statistics/
http://www.digitalkidsinitiative.com/files/2014/08/Children_and_Pornography_Factsheet-Revised-August-2014.pdf
http://www.sexualityandu.ca/

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