On Monday, September 21st close to 40 courageous men and women of all ages met at the Hillcrest Baptist Church as I presented the topic, Sexual Addiction in the Church.
This bold topic was presented with compassion and sensitivity. Our purpose was to begin a conversation that has long been ignored. It is best presented within the family context, but because parents are hesitant, it goes unspoken. With increased stimuli through the media and the increased incidents of abuse, we are compelled to address this topic. Two-Thirds of those receiving treatment for alcohol and drug addiction admit to being sexually abused. Most often the abused become abusers and always have a skewed vision of sexual behavior until they are healed by God’s perspective.
Several have suggested that we follow up with a seminar under the title, Restoring Sexual Integrity. We will be prayerfully considering this.
Several pastors have asked us to consider presenting this in their context. Let us know if this would be helpful in yours.
Below are comments from two young ministers who participated…
After living 33 years in a world saturated with sex and misguided representations of manhood, when I got saved I was a seriously twisted individual. 20 of those 33 years I had been in bondage to some sort of addiction, including sexual, which I now believe was the foundation of my other addictions.
Sexual Integrity? I thought that meant how many women you could sleep with? That’s what really determined your manhood.
The church needs to recognize this is a problem in our congregations and leadership. In a society plagued by fatherlessness and sexuality gone wild, we as the Light of the world need to begin to shed light on an issue that is plaguing the American Church. Look at the recent Ashley Madison scandal. Ed Setter wrote in Christianity Today, "Based on my conversations with leaders from several denominations in the U.S. and Canada, I estimate that at least 400 church leaders (pastors, elders, staff, deacons, etc.) will be resigning Sunday.” All this is due to the scandal. We could fill this paper with the list of big names that have fallen into this trap, but what is the cure?
I believe Pastor Gary Browning’s seminar on “Restoring Sexual Integrity” is a step in the right direction. As a leader of men I watched as his transparency shed light on issues we all struggle with. All the men in my group were moved, touched and relieved that there was a forum where a very real struggle could be confronted and brought into the open.
This seminar is not only a place were men can learn to be open about their struggles, but it also offers solutions. Promoting accountability, transparency, and devotion to God, it trains one to not only confront this issue, but equips us to gracefully help others who struggle in this area.
If we are sincere about keeping our families intact and bringing integrity back to leadership, this is an issue we must begin to deal with. I commend Pastor Gary for his courage and his pioneering leadership in bringing a much-needed seminar such as this to our attention.
Brandon Sanders is the Assistant Director at Wings of Life Ministries in Mobile, Al. He is also a traveling minister working with different ministries, organizations, and leaders across the Southeast and different parts of the country. He is happily married to Cary Dawn Sanders who works beside him in his ministry endeavors.
Sexual Addiction is a subject that we do need to address even though it can be very difficult. It is not a topic we want to talk about with just anyone.
On that Monday night Pastor Gary gave some statistics and also some points about how Sexual Addiction has become a problem not only in the world around us, but also in the church. Not only did he address the issue, he also gave some guidance on what to do if you or someone you love is struggling in this area. Even though it is a sensitive subject, we need to be prepared to address this as men and women of God and not be afraid. We need to have a solution for anyone who asks.
For me personally I struggled with porn addiction along with drugs and a life of sin before I turned my life over Jesus. During the time of my addiction to porn I thought that I did not have a way out or that it was not that bad, but I was stuck in my own desires. I see the truth now that my eyes have been opened. Most of the time we think we are only hurting ourselves, but it hurts others around us also.
This is a much needed topic to be brought to the forefront and I believe that Pastor Gary Browning with his experience will be able to shed helpful light as others come out of a lifestyle of addiction.
Benjamin Godwin is the Associate Pastor of Oasis of Life Church in Chickasaw, AL. He also works at the Wings of Life, a drug and alcohol rehab center.