Years ago, an Episcopal priest mentor of mine, Peter Rodgers, said words to me I will never forget. “The only true ability is availability.” We hear this often on athletic fields where coaches value players who can get on the field on game day, rather than be sidelined by injury, suspension or contract squabbles. As a key to understanding the Bible, we could do worse than seeing availability through the eyes of people willing to become available to God and others looking for deeper significance and healing. Seven years ago, four of us gathered together in a room to consider becoming available to lust addicts, churches and Christian leaders desiring to deepen their ministry to these men.
As veterans of sex addiction recovery, we saw that, similar to our own experience, most men never address their lust problem until pain, marital dissolution, unemployment, jail time or just plain mental anguish stalk their steps. We asked ourselves, “Why couldn’t we move upstream from the rapids and help Christian leaders address this problem directly with help, hope and healing?” Why not become a non-profit ministry providing referrals, resources and educational opportunities in order to work together to bring good news? And so with fear and trembling, we did.
Our “barbell” mission was twofold: to “help men who struggle with lust and support the Christian leaders who serve them.” To fulfil this, we would focus on getting men the specific and targeted help they needed. Short and longer term treatment, individual therapy which would neither undermine their faith nor dismiss their addictive thinking and behavior as “something else,” 12 Step recovery for ongoing change and pastoral mentoring for support in the early days.
But we would also build relationships with front line Christian leaders (pastors, therapists and ministry leaders) and assist them in making referrals and helping address the lust problem from a biblical perspective. Sexual discipleship, a term borrowed from Juli Slattery, became a powerful calling for us. We would eventually host an annual dinner in February for leaders, followed by an annual men’s conference.
Throughout all the changes in the last seven years, our mission has been proven to be solid, yet always adapting. In early days, we lost some focus on our mission to men but returned to it later with zeal. We rebranded ourselves to become more accessible online. We joined with the Sexual Integrity Leadership Summit, an annual gathering for leaders working the same area of God’s vineyard. Our shared experience and steep learning curve has proved invaluable. Changes and course adjustments are healthy and we will expect more in the years ahead to keep in step with the Spirit.
As we adjust to the post-Covid world, our hope is to continue to respond to lust recovery ministry however it presents itself. We accept that many in the church are too fearful, preoccupied or confused about how to address this. That’s ok. Our hope is to join with you who see what we see and work together in whatever way brings the authentic connection God desires for us.
Thanks you for your support, communication and suggestions. We will continue to value them going forward. As God leads you, please support us through our secure Paypal link below.
In the Lust-Bearer,
Executive Director, Living Without Lust