Talking about my struggle with pornography at church

Talking about my struggle with pornography at churchI tend to be pretty open about my struggle with pornography, so I rarely shy away from the issue whenever it comes up in discussions with youth group guys, which is unfortunately pretty often. It also comes up in church staff conversations where I’ll be pretty transparent about the roadblocks I’ve established for myself to gain victory over it.

So, when my sr. pastor asked me if I was interested in taking the Colossians 3:5 passage of a series he’s doing, I was nervously willing to jump in and cover the issue publicly in our Sunday morning services.

“Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.”

Colossians 3:5 (NIV)

I co-taught the message on pornography and lust with a lady in our church. We first shared our own stories about our struggles with porn, then moved into some of the dangers and consequences that pornography can have, followed by common lies we believe about porn, and finished with steps to start gaining victory over this addition in our lives.

Our main push through the message was to encourage people to just start talking about the struggle. To help people get started we provided a phone number where anyone could anonymously text message us with any question they have regarding pornography and lust. If we had time at the end of the service, we intended to answer some of them publicly from the stage, but unfortunately the clock never permitted that, so we shot a follow-up video answering the questions instead and posted it on our church’s website.

With the video posted, last week our church’s website had the highest traffic levels it’s ever had. The follow-up page I created with links, resources, and our follow-up video generated a lot of hits, which tells me we hit a nerve. So far we have not seen a movement of confessions or talked with a lot of men and women seeking accountability, but the traffic on our church’s website indicates that the need is there. How we respond from here is something we’ll have to talk about in an upcoming staff meeting.

You can watch the Sunday message I co-taught on porn and the follow-up video on our church’s website.

Posted on March 15, 2010

  • ryanv

    Tim, thanks for the honesty. Porn is a hard struggle for church ministry leaders to express publicly… This leaves you and those leaders very vulnerable to possible job termination and ones future ability to get a job as a ministry leader…

    Here is a great ministry for those who struggle with porn and need a safe place to talk about it, to discuss it and be open and honest which brings freedom. There are many meetings around the whole country and a list of meetings and locations are listed on the website. It is based off of the book: "Samson and the Pirate Monks" by Nate Larkin. This is a wonderful book filled with honesty about the effects of porn in a man's life.

    • Well, there's no fear of job termination here. Our staff planned this service together and my sr. pastor asked us to do it, but I totally know that many (most?) ministries do not welcome that kind of transparency. They'll fire a pastor for it and then go home and sit in front of the computer with their pants around their ankles.

  • great stuff Tim. Gonna be checking out a few of the links and videos in a minute. trying to spread the word at our church right now too. Its a taboo topic that doesn't get addressed enough.

    • Yeah, we need to talk about it more. It starts with us, the leaders, to model the vulnerability and prove that it's a safe place to talk and find help.

  • Way to go, Tim. This was a very good message. It was bold of you and Amanda to get up in church to talk about this. It was also a very effective way to show how both men and women struggle with this. It takes the pressure off of the men in the room (yourself included) to not feel like "the dirty gender." I can only imagine how nice it was for the women in the room to hear another woman confess this in a public setting.

    Thanks for making this a priority in your church!

  • Tim transparency is a must. I was really open about my struggle with it as well in the search committee process in the past 2 churches I have served in on staff. There's freedom knowing that our staff and leaders know and they don't judge me for it. It's such a struggle for teenage guys. I've really been thinking through doing a retreat for guys and making it a sexuality retreat where we show them through Scripture how it's dangerous and share my story with them. It's tough talking about it publicly – but when you know there's not backlash from those you trust but only freedom it makes it easier.

    I am excited that your church did something like this from upfront. So great man.

  • Guy


    I've been addicted since I was 12 and am now 26…almost 27…haven't gone more than 3 – 5 days… Is there hope? I'm dyin here!

    • There is hope! Unfortunately, too many people wait until the moment of crisis in their lives before they do something about it — wife leaves, adultery, no desire for marital sex — and by that time it's often too late. The longer you wait, the harder it will be to stop.

  • Francis

    Im 21 yr old guy.Pls pray for me as sometime i watch from my church internet connection.I do know using the holy church money for porn is sin which could not be frgvn easily by god..What to do im bound

    • I'm not sure that's something difficult for God to forgive you for, but neither is that an excuse to keep on doing it. Watch the video of my message to our church for tips on what to do to start beating this addiction in your life.

  • Paul

    How did you set up the anonymous text message ability? Did you just give out a random number and promise not to check what numbers where sending you the message or is there some sort of way to allow people to text anonymously?

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