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Current Page: Church & Ministries | Sunday, November 11, 2018
Megachurch Pastor Fired for Viewing Porn Talks About Overcoming His Addiction, New Pastor Job

Megachurch Pastor Fired for Viewing Porn Talks About Overcoming His Addiction, New Pastor Job

Pastor Scott Crenshaw preaches at the Tabernacle of Praise in Fort Worth, Texas, in this photo from Dec. 10, 2017. | (PHOTO: FACEBOOK/Scott Crenshaw)

Pastor Scott Crenshaw said he felt like a rock star when he was senior pastor of the multicampus New River Fellowship Church based in Weatherford, Texas.

After helping Joel Osteen's Lakewood Church in Houston grow its young adults worship ministry, Crenshaw went onto become New River's senior pastor and helped expand the congregation from one campus to three and from about 500 members to over 2,500.

But that all came to a crashing halt in 2016 when his departure from the church for "viewing inappropriate images" on his church computer made national headlines.

It was then that Crenshaw and his family were forced to seriously address a problem affecting their family that data show a majority of Christian men have some sort of struggle with — an addiction to pornography.

"Technology was my downfall but now technology is helping my restoration process," Crenshaw told The Christian Post in an interview on Monday.

A little over two years removed from his fall from grace, Crenshaw is now serving full-time as an interim pastor at Lake Country Church in Fort Worth, Texas, a role he began about six weeks ago.

Crenshaw's return to full-time ministry follows the nearly two-year journey that he and his wife, Renee, have been on in their quest to liberate Crenshaw from the grips of sexual addiction and heal the emotional harm that Crenshaw's addiction has caused to his wife of 31 years.

"When all this came down, I had three overseers. These were the men that were there for me in case of emergency," Crenshaw explained. "One of my overseers was on staff at a megachurch in Dallas. They pointed us to a ministry called Pure Desire and they pointed us to a man named Dr. Ted Roberts."

The road to recovery

The Crenshaws flew out to Portland, Oregon, to meet with Roberts, a former megachurch pastor who founded Pure Desire Ministries along with his wife to provide "hope and freedom from sexual addiction" with a biblically-based and clinically informed approach to recovery.

"I hurt my wife. I betrayed her. I stole from our marriage," Crenshaw said. "It is not just me that needed healing. She needed to learn how to trust me again and learn to deal with the wounds that were inflicted on her."

"When I walked into Dr. Roberts' office, I was shame ridden," he added. "I had so much guilt. It was all my fault. It was me. I owned every bit of it. The beautiful thing was that I had a wife that said, 'If it is your pain, it's my pain too.'"

When the Crenshaws got back to Texas after meeting with Roberts and his wife, Dianne, they were told that they would be prefect candidates for the Pure Desire program.

For the next year-and-a-half, the Crenshaws met online every other week with Ted and Dianne Roberts. Roberts suggested that the Crenshaws take part in separate small group sessions — one for men and the other for women.

Crenshaw told Roberts that he had tried other small men's groups in the past for those struggling with pornography addiction that didn't produce the desired liberation they were looking for.

But Roberts informed Crenshaw that the key to success is "having someone who knows how to walk you into freedom."

"In the past, I had confessed this to pastors. I had been in prayer lines. I was in small groups and I never could find just complete freedom," Crenshaw said. "It is when you find the people that know the steps out of it."

The Crenshaws took part in weekly small groups in Dallas.

For Crenshaw, his group featured people struggling with different types of sexual sin — prostitution, pornography, strip clubs and homosexuality.

"We are walking through material in men's group and being transparent with each other," he said.

Meanwhile, Renee Crenshaw was in a group with women going through similar issues with their husbands.

Through the program, Crenshaw was also connected with other pastors in his area who suffered the same struggle but were about a year further down the road to recovery than he was. The pastors were able to counsel, lead, guide and encourage him in one-on-one settings.

"If the statistics are right, 70 percent of men in America struggle in this area," Crenshaw said. "I am learning about it. This whole time I thought I was the only one, as a minister, struggling with this. You would see the articles about pastors falling to affairs but where was the guy with the pornography? It was liberating meeting these men face-to-face and talking to them and hearing their stories as well."

In addition, Crenshaw did his own research and started listening to podcasts addressing the dangers of pornography and steps to healing.

"What the church doesn't talk about, I started finding the communities of people that were," explained Crenshaw.

Accountability measures

As a nonnegotiable element of Crenshaw's participation with Pure Desire, he had to submit to accountability measures. These included putting a parental passcode on the television that only his wife had access to and putting the accountability software Covenant Eyes on his phone, computers and devices.

Crenshaw also uses Victory App, an app that provides "a strategic battle plan for liberty in the struggle against pornography."

"Every device in our home is on lockdown," Crenshaw said. "Dr. Ted said this is nonnegotiable."

Now that Crenshaw is two years along in his road to recovery, he has found ways to help other families and communities struggling with this problem.

Crenshaw also helped a church in Utah launch a small group that is being attended by about 30 men every Sunday night, he said. That same church has since started a group for women and plans to start a group for teens.

Crenshaw said that he and Renee are also providing support for a 60-year-old man and his wife after he was removed from church over pornography.

"I know God has called me to be a minister. I want to minister to men who are having those kinds of struggles," Crenshaw said. "My wife says that the tools that God is using on me right now are the tools that God is going to put in my toolbelt."

Return to preaching

After leaving New River, the Crenshaws searched for a church community where they could heal. Crenshaw was reached out to by Bishop Gary Oliver, the pastor of the Tabernacle of Praise in Fort Worth.

Pastor Scott Crenshaw preaches at New River Fellowship Church in Weatherford, Texas, in September 2016. | (PHOTO: FACEBOOK/SCOTT CRENSHAW)

"He reached out to me and brought me in and said, 'Scott, I want you and your wife to come and worship here anytime you want," Crenshaw recalled. "We want you to be able to heal here. We got to that church and the church embraced us and loved us."

About six months after the Crenshaws began worshipping at the Tabernacle of Praise, Oliver asked Crenshaw to come on board as a pastor on a part-time basis.

During this time, Crenshaw reflected on ways he erred in running his ministry at New River.

"We just started developing and we were praying and seeking God and seeing people get saved. The church just naturally grew and it grew to 2,500 people [and] now we have three campuses," Crenshaw said of New River. "While all this has taken place, I got little kids coming up to me saying, 'Pastor Scott, you are a rock star.' On the inside, I was listening to them and I started believing my press."

"Instead of leaning on God, I started leaning on what Group magazine had to say or what Steven Furtick was doing this week that could work over here," Crenshaw continued. "I really thought that we could figure everything out on our own. I was drinking from false wells."

Now Crenshaw is serving at Lake Country Church in Fort Worth, a fellowship of about 150 that is hungry to grow.

"These are some loving people who have a wonderful history," Crenshaw said. "We are just trying to get these guys to a very healthy level that gets them ready for their next pastor that is going to come in."

Crenshaw said that he doesn't plan to stay at Lake Country on a permanent basis and doesn't know how long he will be serving there.

"I am looking to walk with this church for however long they want me to," he added. "They have a wonderful staff and I really hope to work with the staff on some of the operating day-in-and-day-out procedures. I want to see this church reach out into the community and get healthy structures and systems behind the scenes inside the church. They are loving people and doing some wonderful work. I look at things and ask, 'How can we do it better?' We want to do things better in everything we do."

Crenshaw said he would like to see more churches be more proactive in working with ministries like Pure Desire in order to aid the many families affected by sexual addiction in their congregations.

"I would encourage churches of any denomination or sizes to go to the experts and find the material that is out there and make it available inside of your church. If 70 percent of men and 50 percent of pastors are struggling, then this is something that needs attention," he stressed.

"Most of the time, the leadership of the church won't address this until it affects them. I am telling them that it is already affecting them. I would encourage them to go to the professionals and not to try and figure this out on their own."

Follow Samuel Smith on Twitter: @IamSamSmithFollow Samuel Smith on Facebook: SamuelSmithCP

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