Survey Says ‘50% of Pastors Use Porn’

hands-on-keyboardAccording to a survey conducted by Pure Desire Ministries (quoted in an ad in Outreach magazine), 68% of Christian men and 50% of pastors view porn regularly. Other research from Covenant Eyes returns similar stats. But let’s face it, statistics don’t change lives. If you are a pastor who uses porn, please know that there is hope for you to overcome this struggle. But it won’t come through greater knowledge, more self-discipline, or stronger will power. Victory is possible only through complete and moment-by-moment surrender to God and genuine accountability to someone who can be trusted to consistently ask the hard questions. This kind of accountability is hard to come by but it’s vital for sustained freedom.

With (More Than) a Little Help from My Friends

According to Covenant Eyes, 75% of pastors do not make themselves accountable to anyone for their Internet use, yet over half (51%) consider Internet pornography a possible temptation. Where are you in this stat? Still trying to manage this problem alone?

How long will we live in denial? We cannot conquer this beast and achieve anything even vaguely resembling sexual integrity without the help of others. We need others to hold us accountable, to encourage us to bring secrets into the light, to ask the hard questions, and to be there to extend grace when we fail. I’m grateful for the circle of Christian brothers who “know my stuff” and love me anyway. I’m thankful for those men who actually read my Covenant Eyes reports. And I definitely could not do without those men I can call at any hour when I feel tempted, resentful, fearful, or depressed.

Don’t have anyone like that in your life? You’ve come to the right place. One of the goals of this website is to encourage accountability, openness, and honesty in a safe environment. Give us a call; shoot off an email. We’re here to help.

Ready to Step Out?

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.

Goodbye Jiminy Cricket!

Have you ever been caught? Most of us have. Maybe you’ve been caught doing something you are ashamed of like looking at porn or masturbating—or sexual behaviors with even greater consequences like having an affair or an anonymous encounter. Getting caught in such activities brings serious consequences: a broken marriage, loss of a ministry position, or even arrest. Even our most “minor indiscretions” can damage relationships and cause an almost irreparable loss of trust.

For a long time, I thought exposure was the worst thing that could happen to me and that the key to avoiding consequences was to not get caught. This way of thinking drove me deeper into hiding and forced me to great lengths rationalizing behaviors and justifying deception.

Own Your Own Recovery

I’m disappointed again. Someone I invited to a 12-step meeting didn’t show up. I know he needs to come. He knows he needs to come, or at least he says he does. I think he isn’t hurting enough to make attending meetings a priority. He came to one or two meetings at my invitation but has yet to come solely on his own initiative. He doesn’t yet own his own recovery.

As a pastor, I see the same thing happen with seemingly non-addicted people. They come to church…occasionally. And they claim they enjoy it when they do, but they don’t come every week or even very regularly. Some are CEO attenders–Christmas and Easter Only. Some just come once in a while–when the guilt piles up, when someone nags them enough, when they are facing a crisis with a spiritual dimension.

My friend in need of the 12-steps is like that too. I suspect he will come again someday–when the guilt piles up, when a loved one nags him enough, or when he’s facing a crisis in his sobriety (like a slip or a relapse).

I know I was like that once in my recovery. I sought just enough help to get someone off my back or to ease the guilt I felt over an undisclosed relapse. I didn’t make meetings a priority; I didn’t make program calls; I didn’t value the 12-steps. I only sought temporary relief. The phrase “half measures” certainly applied to my recovery, and just like the Big Book says, they availed me nothing.

I remember our counselor telling me I had to make recovery a lifestyle. He said I had to own my own recovery. Recovery would never work for me if I did just enough to get my wife, my boss, or my accountability partner (or even my counselor) off my back. He told me (actually twice) that I needed to do a 90/90 (90 meetings in 90 days). I didn’t see the point of that at first, but after all, we’d paid him big bucks to straighten me out. I really should take his advice. At first, I felt a little like Naaman taking a seven-fold dip in the Jordan, but then I started noticing that going to meetings was no longer the burden it was at first. Being sober, when I truly worked the program, was actually quite enjoyable. Between the 30th and 45th day of sobriety, I started noticing changes. People around me noticed even more changes than I recognized in myself. That was really encouraging. But I would have never experienced those blessings had I not owned my own recovery. Somehow, by God’s grace I began to surrender my self-will and all the half measures that availed me nothing. As the 12-steppers say, “It works when you work it!”

 

Components of Recovery

“Half measures have availed us nothing,” to quote a famous line from AA’s “Big Book.” I have found this to be true in my recovery. When I’ve come up short because certain elements were missing or half-heartedly done, my sobriety has frequently collapsed. Does everyone need to do the same things in order to have success? No, because all of us are different and we have different levels of addiction.

The following describes four components that I’ve found essential for my recovery. Far from being an expert on addiction, all I have to share with you is my “experience, strength, and hope.”

  • Confession and Repentance
  • Ongoing Accountability
  • Professional Counsel
  • Support Groups

In future posts, I will share my perspectives on each of these four components. Until then, you might want to take inventory of your life. Which elements are missing? Which have proven effective or ineffective in themselves?