I’ve been thinking a lot about what the next step is for this website and the ministry it represents. As a freelance webmaster (and pastor), I’ve been working on marketing effort for another ministry of which my wife is a part. She is public on that website at the level of first name and general location. I’ve been considering coming out of incognito in order to promote the Sexual Integrity in Ministry website more effectively. I have access to some of the same marketing and promotional tools as the other ministry. That ministry’s efforts include promotional videos which are kind of hard to do anonymously. I’ve also been looking into ad placement in ministry magazines or other ministry websites. Why? It’s certainly not to get rich. This has been and probably always will be a labor of love. The main reason comes directly from the fifth of the 12 traditions: to carry this message to those in ministry who still suffer (adapted). Of course, should I choose to promote this website and ministry publicly, I would break the 12th tradition about anonymity.
Let’s face it. We pastors have a lot to lose if the wrong people find out about what some of us do (or have done) in private. Publicly, the church and much of society have placed us on a pedestal. We are “Reverends,” clergy, “men or women of the cloth,” “God’s chosen leaders,” and so on! Yet we are human. We are sinful. Just like anyone else we deal with temptations, day in and day out. Some of us continually succumb to temptations in areas that most people find difficult to talk about: Internet pornography, masturbation, sex outside of marriage, same-sex attraction, and other sexual behaviors inconsistent with the biblical values we commonly preach.
So when we are caught up in sexual sin, where do we turn? Many of us don’t have anyone holding us accountable in these areas. If we tell our denominational leaders or the other leaders in the churches we serve, we will likely lose our jobs. We should be able to trust other pastors in our community, but most of us don’t. We continue to hide, isolate, and bury ourselves in what may very well be or become a sexual addiction.
There’s the recovery community, but can we trust our reputation to those who willingly admit to being sex addicts or “sexaholics” after they find out what we do for a living? As one who has spent over 13 years “in recovery” and almost 10 years involved in recovery ministries and 12-step groups, I can honestly say that the level of honesty and confidentiality in these groups is light-years beyond the average Christian church. Sadly, I’ve heard more soul-barring confessions and seen more grace extended and received in secular support groups than I have found in churches that claim to “preach grace.”
As a pastor, I respect your desire for anonymity, especially if you have not yet achieved victory over your temptations (or “sobriety” as they say in the 12-steps). This site and the phone meetings that we hope to launch soon are designed for you. We are not here to “out” you; we are here to help you. Please trust us to respect your anonymity and maintain confidentiality regarding what you share with us.