I had to be honest with one of my sons as I talked with him the other day about the temptations of pornography. I told my son that I was thankful I didn’t grow up with the same ready access to Internet pornography that his generation of young men have. While in those days pornography was always available, one had to go looking to find it. These days, pornography, or rather those who would push pornography, are on the prowl looking for you.
So, my sons and I talk about it…probably not enough, but we talk about it. They need a counterbalancing voice, speaking truth in love. Though it’s not just young men who need this voice. All men need to be reminded of the truth of God’s Word applied to sexual sin and pornography. And now, with growing regularity, pornography and sexual addiction is impacting females as well.
We know this. We know that Jesus calls us not to run from this sin, but to run to it. He calls us to apply the gospel to sin and sinners…even when the sin is pornography and sexual addiction. We know this, yet we feel unprepared and ill equipped. There is a battle raging, but we don’t always know the best way to fight it.
With that, I would like to introduce Awaken. With the knowledge of our calling, and an acute awareness of our weakness, the elders of Christ Church have sought out those who are prepared and equipped for this battle. Awaken is a ministry, started by Greg and Stacey Oliver, which seeks to apply the gospel of Jesus Christ to those struggling with pornography and sexual addiction, and seeks to come alongside of churches as they seek to do the same.
Christ Church is now partnering with Awaken. We don’t know all that this partnership will entail, but we know enough to know we are not outsourcing our pornography problem. We are looking to Awaken to EQUIP our church, and our leaders, as we seek to ENGAGE with the gospel.
Practically, what does it mean to equip? It means Awaken will help educate us as to the problem of pornography and sexual addiction. It also means they will help give us the tools we need to protect our people from the problem, and to minister in the midst of the problem. So who needs equipping? Pastors, elders, deacons, parents, care givers, and members all need equipping. Again, we don’t know all this will entail, but look for more information to come, whether it be Sunday School classes for members, workshops for parents, or just a heightened awareness among the elders as we seek to shepherd the flock.
With equipping, we as elders desire to engage. It is our desire to shepherd the flock by asking real questions rather than merely turning our heads the other way. So when we ask those hard questions, please know we do so in love.
Also, be patient with us. Sometimes it can be awkward when we are in a learning phase. Your elders are in a learning phase now, so learn with us. Avail yourself of the resources on the Awaken website. And finally, pray. Pray for protection in the midst of the onslaught of pornographic images coming your way. Pray for your church, that we might be an effective voice for the Kingdom of God in our community. Pray for the next generation of young people, who are dealing with temptations at a much earlier age than you may have. Finally, pray for your elders as we seek to shepherd well, all for the glory of God.