“Who Showed Up” – An unexpected discovery for this typical, Christian community church
So…..What was it that happened at this typical, ordinary Christian church, that is unfortunately, & very unexpectedly, becoming common place across America?
It certainly wasn’t unusual for a normal, bible-centered, bible-teaching Christian community church to offer & present a seminar to their congregation that focused on moral purity. Not at all….. Happens quite often, throughout the Christian church community in America. What was unusual & totally unexpected was, “who showed up,” and “how many showed up.” The pastors & elders of the church were really surprised and somewhat overwhelmed. Most had no idea that their congregation could be experiencing such a problem with moral purity in their day-to-day living.
This particular Christian community church is very representative of a typical church across America. The church membership is a little over 400, and there are 2 church services provided every Sunday, for worship & sermon presentations, along with structured Sunday-school classes and various bible study opportunities. The typical Sunday church attendance for the 2 services average between 600 to 700.
The seminar in question was advertised in the church bulletin & newsletter for 30 days, prior to the showing. So, what happened at this particular seminar that was so unexpected? The church leadership estimated that participation would probably be between 20 & 30 attendees. What surprised these leaders so much was that almost 100 showed up, and, they were comprised mostly of teenagers & young adults.
That astounding result means that upwards of 20% of their congregation responded, confirming that they were experiencing a definite problem with pornography, in some form. Think of that…..! 20% being affected & influenced adversely with this insidious scourge…… 20%…..!! Not at all what they were anticipating……
This particular seminar utilized a video program overview to present & reveal just how pervasive pornography has penetrated the church in America. The video presentation is entitled, “The Conquer Series” and was developed professionally by KingdomWorks Studios.
I personally viewed & experienced this multi-part video series a couple of years ago, during a ministry leadership educational program at my home church. I can personally attest & recommend it to any church leaders seeking to focus attention on, and effective help against, this insidious & invasive enemy of the church.
I have been aware of, and have been studying & researching for a couple of decades, everything I can regarding this issue of why ordinary Christians can become so heavily influenced by, and even addicted to, a variety of destructive behaviors in their lives. Growing up in a secular, non-religious home structure, I had developed a perspective that practicing Christians were mostly immune to the various vices that can afflict so many people. Turns out that I was dead-wrong…..
Temptation, and our response to it, affects all people, from all walks of life—including Christians….. Including Christian leaders….! We are all vulnerable. We are all at risk. We all struggle with this, in some way, throughout almost every day of our life.
Consider some results combining many, many years of research that has been conducted by myself and a multitude of others….. Check this out:
Statistics reveal that the increase in the amount and reach of pornography cannot be ignored. But it is not just a problem
affecting men. Women, teenagers, and children are also being caught in the web of pornography at alarming rates.
Many Christians may assume that the church is immune. They see the smiling faces of the people who attend their church. Certainly, such godly folks could not be viewing pornography.
But many studies and reports have come out over the last several years that show quite a disturbing picture. Not only has pornography invaded churches, but in many cases, the statistics show that Christians – and even church pastors – engage in viewing porn at almost the same rates as the secular population.
The research studies, primarily by the Barna Group and Covenant Eyes, reveal that initial exposure to porn begins in childhood and progresses.
Access to porn is increasingly easy due to the wide variety of formats now available, such as printed materials, the internet, DVDs, television, and more.
Let’s look at some data to see the scope and effects of porn in society and the church:
- Over 40 million Americans are regular visitors to porn sites. The average visit lasts 6 minutes and 29 seconds
- There are around 42 million porn websites, which totals around 370 million pages of porn.
- The porn industry’s annual revenue is more than the NFL, NBA, and MLB combined. It is also more than the combined revenues of ABC, CBS, and NBC.
- 47% of families in the United States reported that pornography is a problem in their home.
- Pornography use increases the marital infidelity rate by more than 300%.
- Eleven is the average age that a child is first exposed to porn, and 94% of children will see porn by the age of 14.
- 56% of American divorces involve one party having an “obsessive interest” in pornographic websites.
- 70% of Christian youth pastors report that they have had at least one teen come to them for help in dealing with pornography in the past 12 months.
- 68% of church-going men and over 50% of pastors view porn on a regular basis. Of young Christian adults 18-24 years old, 76% actively search for porn.
- 59% of pastors said that married men seek their help for porn use.
- 33% of women aged 25-and-under search for porn at least once per month.
- Only 13% of self-identified Christian women say they never watch porn – 87% of Christian women have watched porn.
- 55% of married men and 25% of married women say they watch porn at least once a month.
- 57% of pastors say porn addiction is the most damaging issue in their congregation. And 69% say porn has adversely impacted the church.
- Only 7% of pastors say their church has a program to help people struggling with pornography.
Do these statistics convince you of this pervasive problem in the church? How about the following….. I copy some of this subject matter from my “Book 1 – Freedom Thru Grace,” currently in development: Take a look:
“You may have already lost your marriage, your family, your career, your 401k, your lifetime savings, something you really value. Or you certainly know somebody who has. All because you or they have yielded to one or more scourges such as alcoholism, drug-addiction, pornography and sexual immorality, impulsive anger, eating disorders, etc.
Even the most Bible Thinking, God Walking, Upright Christian Believer will experience seasons of life that make them vulnerable and susceptible to the sin that so easily entangles. If that fact wasn’t true, it simply would not be found in the bible. However, it is unquestionably true, documented here from the book of Hebrews:
Heb. 12:1 …… let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. (NIV)
God knows very well just how easy it is for any of us to become entangled in some kind of sinful behavior, and also, what it takes to throw it off and stay clear of it. However, it turns out this is much easier said than done. In fact, many Christians possess sufficient intellectual knowledge of what they need to do. Knowledge of the biblical truth designed to set them free is not their main issue.
They have discovered, much to their dismay, that the discipline, willpower, habits, & overall life strategy they have adopted for themselves is not as effective as it needs to be. Try as they might, their numerous attempts to overcome destructive lifestyles fall short of success. And, it is certainly not because of any lack of desire. Every Christian I am aware of strongly desires to do what God is instructing them to do, not only here in Hebrews 12, but throughout the bible.
What an enigma. They may know what to do, but they are just not able to develop a method, or a plan for themselves that really works……”
This passage of scripture in Hebrews 12 accurately describes the conflict & bewilderment that results when Christians consistently yield themselves to sin.
They may clearly recognize, understand, and desire to conform their lifestyle in a way that fulfills the teaching of Christ, but have not been able, or are not currently able, to consistently make that happen. So many have just given up. They’re Out-of-Gas or, their spiritual gas tank is almost empty – Running on Fumes. They have yet to find what it takes to get themselves free.
Are you, or someone you know & care about having to live like that?
Truth is, no one desires to live like that. We want to determine and control our temperament, attitude, and behavior in a way that produces a deep-rooted contentment & fulfillment from our lifestyle. This is true whether you believe in God or not. However, there is a certain type of person I am convicted to emphasize and reach out to with this program – Let me describe that person…….
it just might be you:
“Outwardly, you may be a normal functioning man or woman trying your best to succeed with your life…. Your family, close friends and associates may have no idea that you are having any significant problems. But Inwardly, where no one but you & God can see, you are really struggling to get free.”
So, this issue clearly represents a challenge to every one of us, or, someone we know, at times. That’s why I wrote my first book, “Freedom Thru Grace,” starting out with a specific chapter entitled, “Challenge.” It is indeed, a challenge……
 “Conquer Series” – Developer: KingdomWorks Studios; Stuart, FL 34997 (web: conquerseries.com)