Learning my lines . . .
. . . discovering what it means to follow Jesus, seeing my story swept up into his . . .

For Youth Pastors Who Struggle With Porn. . .

My head is still spinning around the message Gail Dines delivers in her video, “Growing Up In A Pornified Culture”, that I blogged on last week.  Her message is in-your-face, troubling, and oh-so-true. As long as we keep moving in this direction, we are mis-shaping our kids in ways that will have. . . in fact are having . . . dire consequences individually and corporately. The video has been fodder for numerous conversations with youth ministry friends and parents over the last few days.

This morning, I spotted my friend Cooper Pinson’s great post, “Help! I’m a Youth Minister Struggling with Porn!”, over at the Harvest USA site. As is always the case with the folks at Harvest USA, Cooper’s words are accurate, theologically sound, biblically-grounded, and very practical. I want to encourage every youth worker I know to take 10 minutes to read and ponder Cooper’s post. . . .

As a youth minister, it’s an already confusing task to lead youth to the feet of Jesus when you yourself need to take the journey. How can we, as youth ministers, bear students’ sins and sufferings when we’re barely holding on? How can we lead youth to streams of living water when we’re dying in the desert?

And then throw porn into the mix. Some churches call for an all-out air strike on any of their staff who might wrestle with pornography: the staff position will be taken away, and the staff person will leave in shame. While we don’t have time to get into church policy, the measures taken by any church should be nuanced enough to vary by situation. But as youth ministers, how can we ourselves move forward? What are some initial categories we can keep in mind?

Confession to My Spouse, Boss, or Mentor?

Placed in context, the richness of James’ teaching on confession becomes apparent:

Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working (5:13-16, ESV).

Confession does help others hold us accountable, but more than that, confession is a means for others to join their healing prayers for us with the two Divine intercessors, our Great High Priest and the Spirit (Romans 8:26-27, 34). Sin says, “Don’t confess. No one can be trusted.” Jesus says otherwise. Sin casts confession as insecurity and defeat. Jesus casts confession as a means to healing. Confession is scary, and I always wrestle with it whatever my sin. But I’ve got to lean into what I know is true: God says there is healing here, not destruction.

If there is a pattern of confession already taking place in your marriage. . . (keep reading here)

 

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