Islands of Hope
Churches Offering Grace-filled Support for Those Struggling with Sexual Addiction
Anyone who knows my story well knows I’ve made a lot of moves since 2004 when I lost my marriage and ministry in Seattle. I’ve been a bit of a gypsy because of major health challenges, and a need to be near my 88 year old mother. But one of the many things I’ve packed and repacked and always took with me is a 2003 issue of Insights from Chuck Swindoll’s Insights for Living Ministry. Are you at all curious as to why I took it all the way to Mexico and back as I lived a vagabond lifestyle? Because the whole issue was about, “The Secret Problem Lurking in My Church…and Yours,” which is the title Chuck chose for his cover article.
About three years ago, I rediscovered the issue buried in a box of keepsakes and reread it. And as I did, I fought a sense of hopelessness. Why? Because helping wake up churches everywhere to the desperate need in their sanctuaries and communities seems more hopeless than ever. So it is with deep gratitude that I say thank you to the many of you who submitted, and continue to submit, info about a church that’s offering loving, grace-filled support and a path to emotional and spiritual growth to those who struggle with sexual addiction. I’ve been a bit amazed and so deeply grateful at your response! So grateful that our webmaster has created a page on our website where you can post the name, location, and contact info for a church you want to submit. My hope is that it will become a directory with a map, and will help people in those areas find local help.
The invitation remains open: If you are aware of a local church providing help and support + love and grace to those who are trapped, or supportive, healing help to their partners, please enter it in the form below.
And I invite you to read Chuck Swindoll’s cover article which we’ve shared, abridged, below. I’m hoping that as others become infected with my desire to make help available everywhere, our directory will grow.
With the world’s healing at heart
Written by Marsha Means
FROM THE DESK OF CHARLES R. SWINDOLL
The Secret Problem Lurking in My Church … and Yours
Our churches are in significant trouble. I’m not talking about financial trouble, or having too few staff doing too many things. Comparatively, those are easy problems to solve.
This trouble concerns a severe disease that is eating away at our congregations, perhaps even some of our own leadership, from the inside out. Men and women, from adolescents to senior citizens, from all walks of life, have succumbed or are at risk, and more are becoming infected every single day.
The problem is pornography—especially Internet pornography. Without your knowledge, your church may have already fallen victim. And the scariest thing is … you may not realize the extensive damage it’s causing.
The most recent studies available suggest that one out of every two people—that’s 50 percent of the people sitting in our pews—are looking at or could be addicted to Internet pornography. The struggle is going on among those who volunteer in your church and mine. Chances are good that some of our volunteers, full-time staff members, and even those who faithfully serve on our boards, may be losing this secret battle. And while I’m listing these possibilities, let’s not overlook our young adults—married and single—who provide instruction among our junior and senior high youth. Truth be told, that statistic may be even higher.
Forget the red-light district or adult bookstore. Pornography has entered homes via the Internet more pervasively and subtly than it ever did through any store or strip club. The irony is that if an X-rated store was being established across the street from where you worship, you’d have a committee assembled to fight it immediately. Yet pornographers have set up shop in the homes of millions of our friends in the church—while we remain mute and passive.
Stop and imagine the ugly but very real possibility of some of your own elders and deacons leaving your meetings and going home to surf porn. Think about youth leaders viewing it one minute and leading a small group with your kids thirty minutes later. It’s ruining marriages, destroying relationships, harming youth, and hurting the body of Christ. You hardly need to be reminded that fallen pastors and priests did not “suddenly” fall. More often than not, pornography has played a role in their downward spiral.
Our churches are in trouble. This is no time to simply wait and pray. Please join me in this battle for our young minds, our marriages, our leaders, and our churches.
Charles R. Swindoll