Long gone are the days when pastors have not had to deal with sexual issues or the results of sexual issues in their congregations. In the past decade, it seems that adultery has increased, fornication has become almost normal, and pornography is common with men in the church.
Christian men have had to face an even greater monster to wrestle with in their daily lives. This monster sits on their desks at the office, laptop or cell phone. You guessed it, Internet pornography—the most defiling perversion ever devised to sexually trap men.
The number of men moving from an occasional problem to becoming sexually addicted is growing. Even pastors and Christian leaders are increasingly struggling with sexual addiction.
All kinds of sexual behaviors outside of marriage are rampant in the church. Sexual immorality is fast becoming a cancer not only in the world but in the body of Christ regardless of denomination or doctrine.
What Is a Sex Addict?
A sex addict can be anyone who uses sex to medicate their soul, avoiding past or current stress, in a compulsive manner that is destructive to their lives. Often, sexual addicts have tried several times to stop by themselves. They pray endlessly and may truly try to be sincere in their faith in Christ. In most cases, they have experienced sexual abuse. They may also have abandonment or other abuse/neglect issues. Some addicts, however, come from good families and have never been abused; they are called biological—or neurologically-based—sex addicts. They have attached the sexual release (which gives the highest chemical reward or endorphins and enkephalins to the brain) to pornography or fantasy. They take God's sex glue chemically and connect it to the fantasy.
What to Do?
The reality is that so few churches have a group where men can work out their sexual healing. I truly do not think pastors are the ones to lead these groups. There are men willing and who desire to not only be in a group but lead one in every church. God knows His body is sick; the cells to bring healing are already there.
I regularly speak at Men's Conferences, I ask men who feel called into ministry of helping men heal and stay sexually pure. The response is always encouraging to see men willing to commit to talk to their pastors to start a group and fulfill their ministry in the body of Christ.
The laborers are already in the body to start healing, not only the local church, but our society. I long for the day when the sexually sick who are growing daily come to the church to get sexually well.
A pastor's job is to equip men to do their ministries. Their ministries may be to help out with the building, fixing cars, teaching Sunday school or helping the sexually addicted. This is a movement of God that men want to respond to especially those like myself who have a clear conscience before God and man.
If a pastor or Christian leader will support and sound the call for help in this area, God will supply the men. A simple pulpit announcement that you are looking for men to start a Freedom Group, Purity Group or Men's Accountability Group will suffice. Men will respond, and the Lord will give you the discernment on who is to lead and his co-leader should be.
These groups are starting all over the country. What we are finding in the sexual recovery movement is that within one year, these groups are doubling and tripling. God is coming back for a pure bride. These groups are being used to clean her up for her wedding day.
What Is a Freedom Group?
A freedom group is a Christ-centered work support group for the sexually struggling or addicted. They are work groups in that each member works through three books. They read or work through The Final Freedom: Pioneering Sexual Addiction Recovery, 101 Freedom Exercises and Steps to Freedom. When the group starts, each member reports on their progress of the amount of work they have done this week. This is great to keep the men working, not just talking about recovery. These are tried-and-true tools to help sexual addicts gain and keep the freedom Christ paid to establish.
The group leadership is simple. One man is point person for the church and is responsible for the meeting time and place. The point man also screens potential members to assess their appropriateness for the group. The chairperson rotates monthly. They are responsible for the introductions, feedback time, and group topic.
I have consistently seen men set free, marriages restored, families kept whole and people giving their hearts to Jesus through this local-church ministry. There are endless testimonies showing what God can do with an ordinary man already in your congregation who has an open heart of love for the sexually struggling. Martin Luther King said, "I have a dream." I, too, have a dream that the church and America will once again be sexually healthy and pure. I encourage you to take your leadership mantle and create a vision for this ministry and see what God can do with and ordinary man.
Doug Weiss, Ph.D., is a nationally known author, speaker and licensed psychologist. He is the executive director of Heart to Heart Counseling Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and the author of several books including, The Final Freedom: Pioneering Sexual Addiction Recovery. You may contact Dr. Weiss via his website, drdougweiss.com or on his Facebook, by phone at 719-278-3708 or through email at [email protected].
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