Pastor, there are two truths I want to share: (1) Many of your fellow pastors are personally struggling with pornography and; (2) pastors must address the issue of pornography among the people they lead.
Several questions emerge based on these two truths. What if you are personally struggling with pornography? Who can you tell? Who can you trust? What if they break your confidence? What should you do? How should you broach the subject of pornography in the pulpit? I mean, it is awkward and could be controversial. Besides, are that many Christian men (and women) really struggling? Should the whole church have to endure the uncomfortable discussion on pornography in your preaching because a few are struggling?
The reality is, it is not just a couple of men in your church who are battling this temptation. Pornography has invaded the homes of the members of your church. Someone you know, someone you love, someone you are close to, is struggling at some level. Let me first address a pastor's personal struggle and then how to approach the subject in church.
Pastor, if you are struggling, let me suggest that you do the following:
1. Confess this as sin and repent. Come clean with God, seek His forgiveness and turn from this sin and in the power of a resurrected Savior never do it again! Stand on the promise of God's forgiveness. Also confess to your spouse!
2. Remove any pornography from your life and computer now! You cannot expect to overcome this sin if the temptation is readily available.
3. Install Internet filtering and accountability software on every computer. I have Covenant Eyes on my computer.
4. Get at least three accountability partners before the end of this day. Each week I have to answer seven hard questions from those who hold me accountable. Knowing I must give an account provides another layer of protection concerning matters of purity.
5. Find a qualified, Christian counselor with whom you can share. You may need to address past wounds. Knowing you can bear your soul to someone who is bound by confidentiality has great benefit.
6. Give your spouse all passwords to your computers and phone. Ask her to periodically check the Internet history and your phone.
7. Daily open the Scriptures and read, reflect on, pray, and listen for the voice of God. At Join1MillionMen.org there is a Bible app that sends Scripture to your phone daily.
8. Surrender daily to the Holy Spirit's control. This is not something you can will yourself to overcome. The power of the Holy Spirit is needed each day.
9. Rehearse the consequences to your walk with God, your marriage, your children, your testimony and the people you lead. Understand it could happen to you.
10. Get on the offensive in helping the men in your church by example and through your preaching.
Pastor, how can you broach the pornography issue? Here are seven easy steps.
1. Use the pulpit and publications of your church to open the door of discussion by sharing pornography statistics as it relates to Christians. The Bible speaks openly about the dangers of sexual sin. As one who proclaims the whole counsel of God, so should you.
2. Make resources available for any man (or woman) in your church such as the booklet Our Hardcore Battle Plan, A-Z which gives 26 practical tools to help win this fight. You provide resources for your congregation to grow spiritually, be sure to provide them with resources to overcome sin as well.
3. Appeal to Christian men by asking them to get materials to share with other Christian men and their own sons. In-home discipleship is critical in parenting. This should be a topic that parents cover with their children.
4. Ask the women in the church to pray for their husbands and mothers to pray for their sons. When wives and moms understand that this is the number one threat to their marriages and children, change can happen.
5. Challenge every man to make the pornography free commitment, even those who are not struggling. We call it "Getting on the wall." In our lobby of the church we have built a wall and asked those who will make the pornography free commitment to place their commitment card there for all to see. On Join1MillionMen.org you can get on a virtual wall.
6. Encourage the discussion in the home and church about pornography. Encourage fathers and mothers to ask their children if they have ever been exposed to pornography and wives to ask their husbands if this is an issue for them.
7. Make it a regular part of your preaching ministry to address sexual issues from a biblical perspective. Dedicate at least one Sunday to challenge your people to a pornography free lifestyle.
We must no longer deny or ignore the problem. I call it the "Pink Elephant in the Church," an obvious issue that seems too uncomfortable to address. Break the silence and address the topic of pornography head on. The majority of those in the church are ready for this discussion. Imagine if one million Christian men take seriously Jesus' promise, "The pure in heart will see God." Join the movement today and be one of 1,000,000 men committing and one of 1,000,000 women praying. We could experience revival in our generation!
Jay Dennis is the author of Our Hardcore Battle Plan: Joining in the War Against Pornography. Serving as Senior Pastor of Church at the Mall in Lakeland, Florida since 1996, Pastor Jay and his staff have enjoyed phenomenal growth, now serving over 9,000 members in a converted mall, on a 32 acre campus.