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How Many Porn Addicts are in Your Church?

  • Mike Genung
  • 2005 6 Jun
  • COMMENTS
How Many Porn Addicts are in Your Church?

Could half of Christian men have a problem with porn, as so many of the statistics say? Porn is reported to be a 12 billion dollar industry in the U.S… 50 percent of men viewed pornography within one week of attending a Promise Keepers stadium event… 54 percent of pastors said they viewed porn within the past year in a Pastors.com survey… in a 2003 Focus on the Family poll 47 percent of respondents said porn is a problem in their home.

 

12 billion… 50 percent… half. My eyes glaze over at numbers like this. Are we supposed to buy into the idea that half of the men in the church are porn addicts? Maybe it’s just more sensational rhetoric meant to rouse us for battle against the culture. 

 

But In My Church?

 

Certainly half the men in my church couldn’t have a problem with porn. Most the men in our body of 600 are in their late 30s to early 40s, married, and the father of little ones. They have successful careers making good money and are involved in ministry. I couldn’t picture so many of these men I sit next to every Sunday leering at porn.   

 

Wanting to prove the numbers wrong, in the spring of 2004 I approached the leadership of our church and asked if we could survey the men on the topic of pornography. Our numbers will be different; “half” can’t be true here, I thought. Of those who responded, 25 percent had looked at porn within the past 30 days, 44 percent within six months, and 61 percent within the year. The real statistic is probably higher; I heard later that a number of men didn’t fill out the survey “because they were afraid of how it would be used.”

 

Pure Desire

 

Ted Roberts, a pastor who’s ministered to many caught in the bondage of sexual addiction recounts the following story in his book Pure Desire:

 

“I was speaking in the Bible Belt not too long ago. When I asked the gracious pastor what he wanted me to share about during the weekend service, he said, “just tell them about the great work God is doing at your church.”

 

I said, “I would love to do that, but I will end up talking about real life – about the bondage, addiction and trauma that so many people are struggling with today. And I will challenge them to open up these areas of their lives to God so He can heal them and set them free.”

 

The expression on his face changed a bit and he commented, “Well, I don’t think we have a lot of folks dealing with the depth of issues that you’re talking about. This isn’t just the Bible belt part of the country. We call it the buckle of the Bible Belt.”

 

But that pastor gave me the green light, so I didn’t pull any punches. Then, at the end of the service, I gave an altar call for people struggling with sexual issues. No one moved at first. Then the dam broke, and they lined up three to four deep at the altar…”

 

Let’s Get Honest Here

 

A few years ago a friend of mine told me of a small men’s retreat he attended in Idaho. When the men were challenged in the area of sexual purity, the biggest, toughest looking guy in the room stood up and said “I’m struggling with porn and I know some of you guys are too, so stand up if you are and let’s deal with this!”

 

Half of the forty men in the room came to their feet.  

 

Accepting the fact that at least half of Christian men (pastors, music ministers, missionaries and those in children’s ministry included) have an issue with porn is a big pill to swallow. We want to see the church in a positive light; we don’t want to picture little Jenny’s daddy “relieving himself” to pictures of naked women (or men, if his bent is with homosexuality). We don’t want the problem to be this big, because the church is in serious trouble if it is.

 

Another Man Speaks

 

The following excerpt is from an open letter Chuck Swindoll posted on his Insight for Living Website not long ago:

 

“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 and/or could be addicted to Internet pornography… Truth be told, that statistic could be even higher…

 

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 played a role in their downward spiral.


My friend, it's time to do something about it. In fact, we need to start today. Making a difference requires action…  Our churches are in trouble. This is no time to simply wait and pray.”

 

The Bottom Line

 

In my ministry to those who struggle with porn and sex addiction, I see many marriages and families on the brink of divorce. Most guys wait until their dirty little secret spins out of control into a big traumatic mess before they do something about it. What starts out as “just me and pictures” can destroy a family. Sadly, there are some marriages that don’t make it.

 

The church needs to expose this snake and cut off its head before more lives are ruined. In upcoming articles we’ll provide you with effective strategies for doing just that.  

 

Mike Genung struggled with sex addiction for 20 years before God set Him free in 1999. He is the director of blazinggrace.org, a ministry to the sexually broken which also helps churches deal with the black plague of porn. You can email Mike at: mike@blazinggrace.org