By the mid ’80s, this problem had become increasingly widespread, even within Christian ranks—a fact that few Church leaders grasped at the time.
Meanwhile, a Los Angeles deputy sheriff by the name of Steve Gallagher was just one of a multitude of Christian men overcome with this new-found access to sexual immorality of all kinds. Steve’s life was spiraling out of control until, one day, his wife finally left him. With a gun to his head, and on the brink of pulling the trigger, the Lord interceded.
Over the next five years, Steve battled his way to victory over sexual sin, reconciliation with his wife Kathy, and, in 1986, a calling to minister to men struggling with sexual addiction—the horrid sin that had once held him captive.
With spiritual oversight from his pastor, Glen Cole, Steve launched a local support group which he called Pure Life Ministries. Although there was an astonishing turnout those first few months, God gave him a vision of an even larger ministry with a national scope. Those around him were rather skeptical of his lofty dreams but he knew he had heard from the Lord.
Within the next two years, the Church was rocked by the Bakker and Swaggart scandals. Steve found himself sought after as a guest on Oprah, The 700 Club and many local radio and television shows across the country.
He also began to write, publishing the Ministry’s flagship book, At the Altar of Sexual Idolatry, to impart the truths the Lord revealed to Steve and used to set him free.
Eventually, the Lord directed Steve and Kathy to northern Kentucky, where they purchased a small farmhouse on 12 acres.
Everywhere they turned, the need was so overwhelming. Still, the Gallagher’s never imagined that the Lord would ask them to turn their home into one of the nation’s first residential programs for men needing to overcome sexual sin. Yet that’s exactly what happened!
In January 1990, six men moved into the small yellow house the Gallagher’s had purchased. The opening of the Pure Life Ministries Live-In Program marked the beginning of a new era for the couple. The focus began to shift away from a ministry to faceless thousands via radio and television, to a work that concentrated on the extreme needs of the individuals coming to them for personal help. They would have to roll up their shirt sleeves and become intimately involved in the overwhelming problems of those who came for help.
The early years were spiritually grueling, but the Lord set deep roots during this season that would bear much fruit.
As the close of the ’90s drew near, the staff numbered 12, the Live-In Program held 25 men at a new 45-acre location, and a phone counseling program called Overcomers At-Home (OCAH) was beginning to take shape.
It was then that the Lord made clear: It’s time to do more to reach out to those in need in the Church.
The staff began to ask the Lord to open the right doors of ministry. Also, Steve began to write with urgency, drawing from the treasures he had received during those years spent primarily seeking God. Intoxicated with Babylon, Irresistible to God and Living in Victory are just three of the books that Steve authored during this fruitful time. By 2001, new buildings were constructed and the Live-In Program grew to 35.
All of this growth came about just in time to help meet the escalation of sexual sin in the Church due to the Internet. Christian men, now faced with easy access to obscene material, were being caught up in pornography in record numbers. The problem was skyrocketing in the Body of Christ. In response the ministry launched its A Call to Purity Weekends to help pastors deal with the epidemic of sexual sin that has been invading the Church ever since.
During the ensuing decade, the staff grew to 35, and new dormitory expansions increased the Live-In facility capacity to 55 beds by the mid 2000s, and finally to its current capacity of 72 beds. Additionally, the OCAH program now regularly ministers to another 45 people each week.
And yet, with all the change that had occurred over several years of rapid growth, one thing has remained at the center of this work: the Presence of God and the desire to embrace the Cross.
Today, the Pure Life Ministries staff continues to do their utmost to maintain a balance between working tirelessly to help meet this great and growing need in the Church while simultaneously maintaining the presence of the Holy Spirit and keeping Jesus foremost in their hearts.
As we move expectantly into the future, God continues to bless this work as an influential voice and essential resource to the Church in America and beyond.
Pure Life Ministries • 14 School street • DRY RIDGE, KY 41035 • 888.PURELIFE
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