Dealing With Sexual Sin in the Church

*The following transcript has been slightly edited from the original audio text for readability purposes. All speakers’ original intent has been maintained to the best of our ability.

Steve Gallagher has joined us in the studio. Steve is the Founder and President of Pure Life Ministries. Steve, it's great to see you again.

Glad to be here Mike.

Steve, our question today comes in from a pastor and he's asking as a pastor, "What can I do to address the issues of pornography and sexual sin with the men of my church?"

When I answer this question I use an acronym F.R.E.E.D.O.M. to kind of spell out a game plan for pastors, so let me just go through that. "F" stands for "Foster an atmosphere of truth and honesty. There are definitely men out in your congregation who are struggling. If they get the sense that you are trustworthy to come to, that you won't disrespect them in front of others or betray their confidence, that is going to go a long way in helping them to step out and come forward with their struggles. The next letter is "R" and that stands for "Renounce sin". I just encourage pastors to not be afraid. Don't back down from the need to renounce sin from the pulpit. People desperately need to hear how sin is destroying their lives.

Amen. Ok, and the first of two "E's?"

Yes, "E" stands for "Educate your congregation about proper and improper sexuality." If the people of your congregation feel like you are uncomfortable with the subject, they're not going to feel comfortable themselves with coming to you for help. It's important to deal with the issue right from the pulpit.

This is particularly important for our young people.

Yes, it's so important for young people to hear from their spiritual leaders what godly sexuality looks like, and that there really is such a thing. The second "E" is "Establish and encourage men's ministry." Men tend to isolate, so it's important that a pastor do his utmost to get men's ministries rolling in his church to have men come together, connect spiritually, and encourage each other.

Ok, and the "D" in F.R.E.E.D.O.M.?

"Disciple those in need." We have learned how to build big churches, but in the process we have lost our ability to build spiritual maturity in the lives of individuals. The lack of discipleship in the church today is one of the reasons why we see so many people bound up in habitual sin. People need to be discipled, and they need a spiritual leader who's involved in their life, not just teaching them from behind a pulpit.

Now how does a pastor do that when he has a church of two thousand people? Obviously he can't be very involved in too many people's individual lives.

Well even in a church of one hundred it can become overwhelming. The way to do that really is to take a handful of the men of the church - I would say six to ten men - and over a period of time start discipling those men. Then they in turn can be put into a position of authority where they will be able to disciple their own group.

So this is so much more important for a pastor to pour his life into these men as opposed to just bringing assistant pastors on that can handle programs?

Yes. Even small groups that tend to be without any real, spiritual leadership are not building the body of Christ. Building the body of Christ is when you're focusing on growth in the individual.

Ok. In the word F.R.E.E.D.O.M. then we're on "O."

"Offer restoration for fallen church leaders and members." The pastor has to have a game plan. If he runs across someone who has been given over to sin, he needs a place to turn - whether it's to send them to one of the Pure Life programs, maybe a biblical counselor in his area, or maybe he himself is going to disciple the man through this process of restoration. There needs to be a game plan.

Ok, and on the last letter, "M."

"Model godly character and consecration." The pastor's personal walk with God is going to determine the level of his spiritual authority to speak into the lives of others. If he's given over to watching T.V. and sports, and getting all involved in politics and side issues and stuff, and does not have a strong spiritual life himself, then he is not going to be able to lead people very far. This is one of the most important things: a pastor's personal walk with God.

Well Steve thanks so much for talking to us about dealing with sexual sin in the church and helping the pastors to understand how they can lead their own men into freedom.

It's a blessing to be here.

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