An Indianapolis musician and speaker has extended her outreach ministry into strip clubs throughout the city where she engages in conversation with strippers and shares the message of redemption and love.
Kim Tabor admits that she would not frequent strip clubs if she did not have a compassion for the women in need, whom she considers to be no different than anyone else.
"The women in those clubs are just like me and every other women sitting at church. We're all the same at our core. We want and long to hear the same thing, that we matter and we're loved," Tabor of Stripped Free Ministry told The Christian Post.
Part of Tabor's work includes taking gifts to the women who are almost always receptive to her message. She then engages them in conversation about life, kids and "normal girlfriend kinds of things."
While her heart is set on showing the women that their lives have hope, Tabor told CP that she also develops relationships with the gatekeepers of the venues, such as the management and bouncers as they are the first to ask what her sole purpose is in reaching out to strippers.
Tabor considers her outreach ministry to be rewarding and notes that although Indianapolis is dotted with churches on every corner, there is also a large number of strip clubs in the city, which indicates she has a lot of work to engage in.
But she gets help from Stefanie Jeffers, a former stripper, to become more aware of how to minister to the women.
"These women are dying for somebody to take an interest in them for some reason other than their bodies," said Tabor. "There are other organizations in Indianapolis doing this also but the difference we're seeing is no other organization has a former dancer who has been set free by the power of God, who goes back to those clubs to rescue other women out."
She met Jeffers, who now accompanies her on club visits, while addressing a crowd of women during a Bible study. After Tabor's message, Jeffers spoke up and mentioned that she was a former stripper. The two then connected and have been partners in outreach since then.
"She's a living, breathing testimony walking in there," said Tabor. "The light bulb goes off on these women and they look at her and think, 'I can be like that, there is hope, it is possible.'"
Jeffers also spoke to CP about her work with Stripped Free Ministry, which she says is an "amazing, redemptive experience."
"I never thought I'd go back to a strip club or even share my story … it took three years to lose everything I had when I was dancing. That's a short period of time to lose a lifetime. But God in His unique way, brought an opportunity that I knew was from Him and I just said yes."
A decade ago, Jeffers, who grew up as a preacher's kid, was in an abusive relationship, and lost her baby while pregnant. At the time, she worked as a paralegal. On the day she was originally due to give birth, Jeffers began sobbing on her way to work as she grieved the life of her child. She quit her job that same day.
Distraught and emotional, Jeffers remembered that someone had previously told her that she could strip if she wanted to. In retrospect, Jeffers says that comment was the enemy's way of putting the thought in her head.
"I remember thinking, 'I'm going to need a job and I just walked out on a really good one.' Instead of turning to God, I got up the next day and walked into a strip club," she said.
Jeffers stripped for the next three years, losing everything she owned, including her identity, along the way.
The first club she stepped foot in with Tabor after leaving her job as a dancer was the same club she had worked in. She recalled getting dressed for the night in jeans, a t-shirt and flip-flops, while she applied minimal mascara and pulled her hair back.
While she got ready, Jeffers thought of how different it was from years ago when she would be getting ready in the club's dressing room and wondering "who this horrible woman was staring back at me."
Now, she openly shares her story to serve as an inspiration to the women she reaches out to.
In addition to Stripped Free Ministry, Tabor also hosts Finally Free conferences throughout the country in which women gather to have honest conversations about relative topics while she shares the freeing message of Christ.