Healing for Those Struggling with Pornography : Sam Black

Healing for Those Struggling with Pornography - Sam Black - 62 - FrontStage BackStage with Jason Daye

As pastors and ministry leaders, how can we find hope and healing from struggles with pornography, both for ourselves and for the people we serve? In this week’s conversation on FrontStage BackStage, host Jason Daye is joined by Sam Black, Director of Recovery Education for Covenant Eyes. Sam is an award-winning journalist and has written and edited many books, including his latest, entitled The Healing Church. Together, Sam and Jason look at how pastors and ministry leaders can find freedom themselves from their struggles with pornography. They also look at some of the harmful mistakes that churches often make related to pornography, and how we can purposefully create safe spaces for healing in our local churches.

Looking to dig more deeply into this topic and conversation? Every week we go the extra mile and create a free toolkit so you and your ministry team can dive deeper into the topic that is discussed. Find your Weekly Toolkit below… Love well, Live well, Lead well!

Video Links

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Audio Links

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Additional Resource Links

www.thehealingchurch.com – Check out Sam’s website, where you can find valuable resources, including his latest book, and much more.

The Healing Church: What Churches Get Wrong about Pornography and How to Fix It – In Sam’s book, ministry leaders will discover how to create safe spaces and apply processes that restore those trapped in compulsive behaviors with pornography. Sam Black outlines the most successful examples from churches currently providing meaningful aid and includes stories of Christians who found healing from porn strongholds, as evidence of the type of healing that pastors and church leaders can provide.

www.covenanteyes.com – Join over 1.5 million people who’ve used Covenant Eyes to experience victory over porn.

www.strive21.com – Join Matt Fradd and a community of brothers in discovering the keys to living porn-free.

Connect with Sam Black – Twitter | Instagram

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Feeling overwhelmed, burned out, or just want to talk?  Complimentary Coaching Session for Pastors http://PastorServe.org/freesession

Ministry Leaders Growth Guide

Key Insights and Concepts

  • Christ offers freedom, healing, and hope for everyone in the area of pornography, including pastors and ministry leaders
  • The majority of those in ministry have struggled with pornography in the past, and many are currently struggling.
  • There is a three-part pattern that generally describes experiences those who struggle with pornography have dealt with: early exposure, ongoing repetition/use, and a form of trauma.
  • Pastors and ministry leaders are uniquely susceptible to the struggle of porn, as well as other self-medicating addictions, because of a combination of two elements: they consistently deal with the stressors of their church community, and they often have a significant amount of alone time.
  • The common responses of the church toward those who struggle with porn have not been helpful or productive in the past.
  • Even in a season when there is such a need for pastors, the church often fails to support a true healing and recovery process.
  • When a ministry leader encounters true freedom and healing in the area of pornography they find they are able to minister to others at a deeper level.
  • James 5:16, which states, “confess your sins to one another, that you may be healed”, tells us that the Church is God’s plan for healing, and yet many who recover from porn addiction state that the church was not helpful in their situation.
  • Being welcomed to come as you are, knowing that we all have struggles, must be coupled with the hope that you can change and become more like Christ.
  • Churches and ministry leaders that work to create a safe place and process are more likely to have a thriving ministry because their congregation can more easily overcome shame and press into their faith.
  • Healing and help are available for anyone struggling with pornography.

Questions for Reflection

  • In what ways have I seen the harmful effects of pornography on individuals, relationships, and communities, and how does that motivate me to address this issue?
  • As a pastor or ministry leader, what specific challenges do I face in relation to pornography due to the nature of my role and the demands placed upon me?
  • In my experience, how has the church’s response to the issue of pornography been either helpful or unhelpful, and what alternative approaches could be more productive?
  • How can my personal journey of finding freedom and healing from pornography enable me to minister to others with a greater understanding and compassion?
  • How can I effectively communicate the message of grace and forgiveness to individuals who are burdened with shame and guilt due to their involvement with pornography?
  • How can I actively raise awareness about the availability of healing and help for individuals struggling with pornography, both within my faith community and in broader circles of influence?
  • How do I navigate the tension between accepting individuals as they are while also encouraging and supporting their growth and transformation in Christ?
  • What steps can the church take to fulfill the biblical mandate of confessing sins to one another for the purpose of healing, particularly in the area of pornography?
  • Have I witnessed any churches or ministry leaders successfully create a safe and supportive environment for addressing the issue of pornography, and what lessons can be learned from their approach?
  • What steps can I personally take to cultivate a culture of openness, accountability, and support within my ministry, fostering an environment where individuals feel comfortable seeking help for pornography-related struggles?
  • As a ministry leader, what resources, training, or education can I seek to better equip myself in understanding the complexities of pornography addiction and providing appropriate support to those in need?

Full-Text Transcript

As pastors and ministry leaders, how can we find hope and healing from struggles with pornography, both for ourselves and for the people we serve?

Jason Daye 
In this episode, I’m joined by Sam Black, Director of Recovery Education for Covenant Eyes. Sam is an award-winning journalist and has written and edited many books, including his latest, entitled The Healing Church. Together, Sam and I look at how pastors and ministry leaders can find freedom themselves from their struggles with pornography. We also look at some of the harmful mistakes that churches often make related to pornography, and how we can purposefully create safe spaces for healing in our local churches. Are you ready? Let’s go.

Jason Daye 
Hello, friends, and welcome to another insightful episode of FrontStage BackStage. I’m your host, Jason Daye. Super excited about today’s conversation, I think it’s gonna be very, very impactful, and very helpful for you and for your ministry. It is my distinct privilege to sit down with a trusted ministry leader each and every week. And we dive into a topic that helps you and pastors and ministry leaders just like you embrace healthy rhythms of both life and ministry, both on the front stage of ministry and the more personal backstage of your life. We are proud to be a part of the Pastor Serve Network. And not only do we dive into a conversation every week, but our team puts together an entire toolkit that complements the conversation, giving you and your ministry leaders at your local church an opportunity to dig more deeply into the topic at hand. In that toolkit, which you can find at  PastorServe.org/network, you will find a growth guide for ministry leaders, which offers questions for reflection, key insights, there’s videos, audio, and lots of different resources there. So please make sure to check that out at  PastorServe.org/network. And our team at Pastor Serve loves to come alongside of pastors and ministry leaders just like you. And we are offering a complimentary coaching session with one of our trusted and experienced ministry coaches. And you can find out more information about that at PastorServe.org/freesession. So be sure to check that out as well. Now, if you’re joining us on YouTube, it’s good to have you along with us. Please give us a thumbs up and take a moment to drop your name and the name of your ministry in the comments below. Our team loves to get to know our audience better. And we’ll be praying for you and for your ministry. Whether you’re following us on YouTube, or joining us from your favorite podcast platform today, please take a moment to subscribe, to follow, and to hit notifications so you do not miss out on any of these great conversations. And like I said, I’m excited about today’s conversation. At this time. I’d like to welcome Sam Black to the show. Sam, welcome!

Sam Black 
Hey, Jason, great to be here. Thank you.

Jason Daye 
Yeah, so good to have you, Sam, with us. And, Sam, I really appreciate the work that you and your team at Covenant Eyes have done to not just really highlight the problem of pornography, but to also provide actionable ways that a church can minister to those struggling with pornography. And you do it in a way that really leads to hope and to healing. And like I said, I so appreciate that. I mean, it’s one thing, Sam, to talk about the problem out there, right? But it’s quite another to offer insights, practices, and ways to maybe think about those problems differently. New perspectives even that can help bring healing to the problem, specifically the problem of pornography. And so, Sam, today we’re going to try to tackle, we’ve talked a little bit before we start recording about tackling a couple of topics. And we said that we could spend hours probably on each of these topics. So for those of you watching along, those of you listening, we’re just going to scratch the surface, but our hope and our prayer is that this will be impactful. But first, we’re going to talk a bit about how porn is impacting the lives of those in ministry. And then we’re going to explore how the local church can really become a place of healing for those struggling with pornography. So, Sam, let’s begin with you helping us really understand the scope of pornography’s impact on ministry. Can you share with us about the struggles that many pastors and ministry leaders are having with porn themselves?

Sam Black 
Yeah, that’s a tough way to start, right? I want you to know that as I wrote The Healing Church, what churches get wrong about pornography and how to fix it. I wrote this with a great deal of empathy, not only for pastors and ministry leaders but also for those under their care. And you can download the first chapter and the introduction at thehealingchurch.com, just to learn more about the book. It’s among the resources that Covenant Eyes has produced over the years, we’ve existed for 23 years now. And our aim is to support and help and provide the hope and healing that Christ offers. And that doesn’t just mean for the individual that’s sitting in a pew. It’s also for those in leadership, we know that Christ is doing an ongoing work in our lives, and is wanting to build that restoration in every aspect of our lives. So yes, there is a lot of hope. And I really believe in that hope. I think it’s important for, you know, if we can think about how pornography is impacting every part of the church, from our children’s ministries to our teen ministries, to adult ministries, then likely it is also impacting those in church leadership. And Satan has had his target on pastors and ministry leaders for a long time, right? He’s ready to take out those shepherds. And so Barna did a study, and probably pastors have heard a number of different statistics on this, but here are a few from Barna. This is that their study reported that 57% of pastors and 64% of youth pastors said they struggle with porn currently or have in the past, and about 21% of youth pastors and 5% of senior pastors say they believe they are addicted to pornography. It’s interesting, I spoke at a men’s, not a men’s, I speak a lot of men’s events, too. But I was speaking at a leadership conference for ministry leaders, pastors, and ministry leaders. And when I arrived to this large church campus, and they had people from all over the United States coming to this event, the pastor, the senior pastor, who is overseeing this event, said, Hey, Sam, I want you to know that I pitched hard just to make sure you’re here. Because you see, I’m supposed to be retired now. And we had invited another pastor to come in and to co-pastor with me until they would take over and I would retire. But there was something off and we get dug deeper and discovered that he was struggling with pornography. And we gave him some, you know, some help, some prayer, and etc. But he just doesn’t seem to be making advances enough. So we disqualified him from ministry. And he said, Sam, can you just tell me this, it was that I discovered that he had been exposed to pornography at a young age. Is that possibly impactful for that? And what’s so strange is that, of course, is very, very impactful. It’s part of, what I call, a three-part formula for people who are struggling with pornography, or we become trapped or caught in the stronghold of pornography. And that is early exposure, often ongoing repetition and use through adolescence, and some trauma or drama that happened often early in life. So if we think about ministry leaders overall, many have come into ministry because they have felt hurt and pain in their own lives. They have often wanted to help and support others so that they don’t experience that kind of pain and they’ve gotten a good hold and care in many ways for their life. But maybe pornography was one of those things that remained unaddressed. And so here they have come into ministry because they don’t want to see other people hurt. They want to help people find the hope that they have also found in Christ. But they haven’t really dealt with that one issue in their life very well. And so it has been this nagging, behind-the-scenes, secretive Hey, I know I can just do better. If I focus a little more, if I practice my spiritual disciplines a little more. What I have often found is that those young people, those children who are exposed to pornography at a young age, and the average age for early exposure today is somewhere between the ages of 8 and 12 years old, depending on which survey you’re looking at. But in many Christian homes, that I speak to, I hear regularly 5, 6, 7 years old. So that early exposure is very impactful. It’s why someone can tell you a story about the first time that they saw pornography, they probably can’t tell you anything else about that day, but they can tell you a story about that first exposure. And there’s a lot going on there in our brains and our neurochemistry. And our bodies were designed by God, and he made sex a beautiful thing. And pornography is not sex, it’s a hijacking of what God created. And so we shouldn’t be too surprised about how impactful that can be for a child and we can go into that deeper later. But that ongoing repetition, especially if that young person was in a home that maybe had some violence, divorce, or many other kinds of wounds that can happen that may be even unintentional like the loss of a parent. There’s a number, and we grew up in a broken and fallen world and there are so many hurts, and a child can learn a teen can learn accidentally, that when I’m confronted here, I can escape over here. And they don’t even connect the two together, they just begin having this pattern of behavior in their teen years. And I’ve often found that many of those who struggle as adults in ministry, they had that early exposure to the ongoing repetition and trauma. And they thought, Well, when I get to high school, I’ll be around more mature people, and this thing about pornography will go away. And that didn’t work. And so then when I go to my Christian College, I know that I will be around other Christians, and I’ll have such good influences that this issue of pornography will go away. And then that doesn’t work. And they said, Well, when I get to seminary, I’ll be around people who are even more committed to their faith and belief, and this issue of pornography will go away. And when that doesn’t work, then well when I get into ministry or missionary status, or whatever else it is that I’m doing, I’ll be so concentrated on God’s work, that this issue will go away. And often instead becomes this hidden, pushed down, shoved down issue that they never directly deal with. Well, they don’t go through a real process that’s in a safe place and a safe process to find real and lasting freedom. And often, we have painted a picture within the church that says, hey, you know, you’re a man and most people in church in leadership are men. I’m not trying to make any distinctions here. I’m just saying that’s typically what is happening in the church. And we have often said, Well, you know, as a man, you might struggle in some tough ways that many others don’t, right? And that would be some lust. I mean, let’s look at David and Sampson and Solomon, they all have this sexual struggle, right? And so we begin accepting that there will be times or periods when we might fall down. And then we just need to get back up, and get back up again, and get back up again. And so we enter this ongoing repetition. I usually have a coin sitting on my desk, I don’t see it right now. But if you picture, the head of the coin, and that head says I’m going to work harder, I’m going to press into my spiritual disciplines, I’m going to live in greater surrender to Christ.

Sam Black 
And then something happens whether, you know, it can be what we call hungry, angry, lonely, tired, frustrated, all these triggers happen. And who is under much more pressure than the local ministry leader, who’s often alone in their office for long periods of time, who are dealing with people’s stress in their relationships, and all the kinds of struggles and pain that people have in the church and then that’s all offloaded on to that ministry leader? For missionaries there in unexpected cultures and influences and all kinds. There’s so much pressure and pain, and things that are facing ministry leaders. And there’ll be that, Oops, I fall down. And they’ll be like, Oh, well, I just hate myself, I can’t believe I did this, and the self-loathing that can come with that, the depression that can come with that, can lead people to do even other things that, hey, I’m going to deal and cope with my depression and with this, right? And so it becomes this revolving cycle that never really finds lasting, real freedom. And what I want to so express today, is that with a safe process, and a safe place, when we really dive deeper, we can truly live in freedom. And this doesn’t have to be a repetitive cycle anymore.

Jason Daye 
Right, yeah, I love that. A lot of hope, Sam. One of the things that we see commonly with ministry leaders is, you mentioned, the shame piece of whatever the struggle is, right? And feeling that the church has not made it safe for ministry leaders to raise their hand and say I’m struggling, regardless of what you’re struggling with. And then, on top of it, you put pornography as the thing you’re struggling with, which has its own whole set of shame and taboo and other pieces related to it. So one of the great challenges is if a ministry leader does have that struggle, oftentimes, they are going to keep it hidden, because they do not feel that they have any opportunity to voice that struggle without massive repercussions. So, Sam, talk to us a little bit about when a pastor or ministry leader is struggling with porn, talk to us a little bit about, historically, what the church’s response has been? And, you know, then perhaps, in understanding that, then the second part of that question is, so then what is a ministry leader to do? Like if someone watching along right now or listening right now is struggling, what can they do that will help them? So the first part is, let’s talk about how historically we’re responding to ministry leaders who do raise their hand. And then let’s talk about well, what could we do then?

Sam Black 
Right. Unfortunately, so often, well, there are three common ones. And unfortunately, the one that has gotten the most attention is simply no restoration. It is, you’re supposed to live above reproach, there shouldn’t be any issues in your life, and you’re out. And you know, after I spoke to that pastor at that event, I was talking to another pastor right after that, and he goes, Well, I’m a district leader. And I come in and serve as pastor when others are disqualified, or something else happened. And he goes, You know, I was just, I’ve been ministering in a church where we released the senior pastor because he had a struggle with pornography. And when I got into the church, I discovered that the assistant pastor was also struggling, and so he’s out too. So we keep shooting our wounded. And, by the way, we need more pastors. We need more, we’re running short. We need more pastors and ministry leaders in the church, and we can’t keep shooting our wounded. It’s not effective. And isn’t God’s grace sufficient? Not only for the person in the pew but the person who is serving as a shepherd. I believe that wholeheartedly. The other way that the church is often done it is immediate restoration. It’s been, we’ll pray over you, things are okay now, God forgives, and you’re ready to go. We’ve just witnessed the miracle here and you’re ready to go. But the truth is, nothing has often been actually done to help support that ministry leader really deal with the struggle beneath the surface. And it might be shoved down because of the shame of being found out, it might be pushed down because of the internal guilt, and so some sobriety is there, but somehow it might be leaking out into other ways with other self-soothing behaviors that aren’t going to be any better, right? We just have to recognize that. So no restoration, the opposite of that is immediate restoration, right? A third one is deliberate restoration. It is like, Oh, well, we understand that you have struggled. And we’re going to take you through this process. And you’re going to come out on the other side, and you’re going to be returned to ministry service. Those are the three most common ones we see. And what I propose in the book is, what I’ve seen work over and over again, through Christian counselors and ministry leaders of denominations. And that is a focus on restoration to Christ, on a restoration of healing, of bringing hope and healing to a person’s life. And whether they return to ministry or do not return to ministry is not the most important issue. It’s that we want a right relationship with Christ. And, you know, Troy Haas, who I was interviewing, laid out that it’s very important that on the other side of that effort, we need to have a right relationship with yourself, a right relationship with God, a right relationship with your spouse, and your immediate family, a right relationship with your church and a right relationship with ministry. And he puts those in that order. And I think we often try to just focus on is the person returning to ministry or not returning to ministry, and what we really need to do is focus on that soul who needs Christ’s healing in every aspect of their life. Now, here’s the cool thing. Every time where I’ve seen someone go through the safe place and safe process approach, what overwhelmingly happens is that sets that person all the more on fire for Christ. They are more empathetic, they are more caring, and they have a greater understanding of those under their care. They’re less judgmental, they have a lot of grace, and they are willing to do the deeper work and understand, they have better boundaries in their own life. They are more equipped to do ministry better, having gone through a real process toward freedom.

Jason Daye 
Yeah, that’s awesome. Because, as you said, Sam, that’s what you’re experiencing, the deeper healing. And if you’re experiencing that deeper healing, then obviously we, you know…

Sam Black 
You can give away what you’ve experienced, right?

Jason Daye 
Right, exactly. Because God redeems that, and then allows you to use that. So, that’s beautiful. So, Sam, if someone is watching right now or listening along and they’re in ministry. They’re struggling. They say, Sam, you know, those first three options, kind of paths, are the paths that I recognize. The one that I’m most fearful of is, you know, the first one, right? Where it’s almost like a scarlet letter, and it’s done. But, what you share about the safe healing piece, that’s what I would really like to experience but I don’t know how to get there. Well, if they’re saying, What do I do? That’s what I want, Sam, that’s what I want. What do we do?

Sam Black 
Well, I know this is gonna sound self-serving, but get a copy of The Healing Church. Learn more about it at thehealingchurch.com. And you can download the introduction and the first chapter just to preview it there. But there’s a lot to this. I interviewed more than 70 pastors and ministry leaders and Christian counselors and others for this book. It is crammed full of content, reviewing studies and work, and programs that can support a pastor and ministry leader. I wrote this book for the pastor and ministry leader. So, we could spend another hour or two if you’d like talking about all the processes of ways we could do this and begin to find freedom. But I really worked to meticulously lay these things out within the book, and also provide resources and examples of resources that can support. But I think it’s imperative for denominations and local churches to say, hey, when we find someone who is struggling, we don’t shoot them. We don’t say hey, well, you’re just out, period. We’re going to take a look at that situation. And we’re going to say, God cares about that, so he wants to see restoration. Now, the most beautiful part of this, if you can create a safe place and a safe process that is meaningful and real, and not just window dressing, your congregation can look at that and go, I can raise my hand too, I’m struggling too, I want to have that kind of restoration in my life. I hate pornography in my life, I have promised myself, I’ve promised God, I’ve promised my spouse or promised others that I would never look at pornography again. And yet I keep finding myself wrapped up in this ongoing cycle of going back to pornography, I would really like to have that freedom, too. So what a greater testimony this is to the church. If you’re going to begin punishing and ousting and saying how lack-of-worth an administrative leader is because they have encountered some kind of struggle in their life. And not come alongside them and say, Hey, we’re going to walk with you. We love you. And we’re not going to leave you where you are, we love you too much for that. We’re going to walk with you in a process of discipleship that really takes you to the healing that God wants for you. And here’s the cool thing about all of this is that I have found over and over again, that when we deal with the things that seem to be so shameful and ugly, what we begin doing is lighting up the corners of the rooms, we begin opening the closet doors. And what the person experiences is not just recovery and freedom from something as ugly as pornography. They find wholeness throughout their life. And from a mind body and spirit perspective, they get to live in true wholeness, not just beating down the one problem that seemed to be such an issue.

Jason Daye 
Yeah, that’s good. And I love this spot that you just shared there, Sam, because as a ministry leader finds freedom in Christ through this, you know, and finds that safe process, that safe place to work through this, it does open up an opportunity to minister to a deeper level. Because quite honestly, if we look at the typical local church, there’s not a ton of ministry happening that is addressing the pornography problem, right?

Sam Black 
Only 7% of churches do anything at all.

Jason Daye 
Okay, there you have a statistic. I’ve read your book, I knew you’d have a statistic. Exactly. So this isn’t something that is being really addressed by local churches. And in fact, in the book, you share that the vast majority of people who do find freedom in Christ through, and overcome a struggle with pornography, say that their church really didn’t help. Right? It wasn’t something that necessarily helped. So, how can we begin to look at the culture of our church? You know, what does our church do? How does our church operate? Because as pastors and ministry leaders, we long to help people find healing and wholeness. We long to help people find freedom. Like, that’s what we’ve given our lives to. So if we’re not, if what we have been doing hasn’t been effective, and you talk a lot about this, you write a lot about this about purity sermons and those types of things. Accountability, you know, how we used to look at accountability and how that really hasn’t been effective. There are so many things that we’ve kind of leaned on, that really haven’t been effective. So what is effective now? What are some of the changes that we can put into place, that we can begin to lean into in our local churches to help them become places that don’t create more harm, but are really places of healing?

Sam Black 
Thank you. I wrote The Healing Church as a primer for pastors and ministry leaders. I know that a lot of people are reading it and they’re excited about it. They’re going oh, yeah, this is so valuable for my church. But they’re reading it as a layperson. Many are lay-level people saying, Oh, I love this book. It’s getting really great reviews. But I wrote it for the pastor and ministry leader. I wrote it so they could have a better understanding of why people get stuck. Why they often stay stuck without help, and how the church is God’s plan, and there’s no Plan B. It’s God’s plan A. The church is where we do one another. It’s where we’re supposed to do one another, right? Think about it. One of the foundational principles of the Christian faith is James 5:16. We confess our sins to one another and pray for one another that we may be healed. Right? Isn’t that beautiful? Don’t you want to enter into that? Doesn’t that feel like I want to live in authenticity, where I am fully known and fully loved, and where God is continually doing the work in my life and bringing healing in my life? But when I talk to small churches, they say that you know, we only have about 100 people or 150 people here and we know each other. And it’s really hard to really practice James 5:16. And then you go to a large church, and they’re like, Well, we have 2500 or 5000 people that attend our church, and I just don’t know, Sam, can you help me really dive into how can I find someone to be my ally, to receive my covenant eyes reports and things? I don’t really have someone I can trust. So it’s not the size of the church that’s the problem, right? We need to ask ourselves, what part of James 5:16 do we not believe? Within our church culture, we have often worked at looking good. And I don’t mean this to sound hard. But there’s a pastor who, he’s a pastor so he can say this, right? And in the book, the pastor says to me, Sam, we have often become an institution of respectability, rather than a hospital where the great physician can do his work. That’s tough, right? So how can we begin creating a safe place with a safe process, right? And on one side of our church, the safety exists on sort of a spectrum, right? And on one side, we have a church where it’s safe to come just as you are, but you’re never called for change. You’re never called to Christ-likeness. It’s okay, we all struggle, that’s just going to happen, let’s just not even worry, we don’t even need to talk about it too much, right? We just know you’re going to struggle and God’s grace is sufficient. On the other side is where it’s a little sacrilegious, where, especially once you become a Christian, you shouldn’t have any more problems anymore. If you have a stronghold, then maybe you don’t belong in our congregation, period. In fact, as I was writing the book, interviewed a number of people and found that kind of ungrace-based philosophy happens so often that an elder came to his church board and said, Listen, I want your help. I’ve been struggling. And their response was not only to remove him from the board but to remove him from the church. That doesn’t sound like God’s grace to me. What we need is a safe place where it’s okay to come as you are. But we love you too much to leave you as you are, right? And so we’re going to walk you through a discipleship process, and there’s so many that are available, that can really help people understand why they keep going back to pornography, how we can deal with the issues of shame. And I spell those out in the book, The Healing Church.

Jason Daye 
Yeah, that’s excellent. And I do think it’s good, it takes some intentionality, Sam, in order to develop a culture where it feels safe for people to say, Hey, I’m struggling, right? And I think that’s probably one of the biggest hindrances to leaning into this type of healing ministry is that we make it, that the culture is developed in such a way, that we make it so people who are hurting, aren’t willing to say, hey, I need a doctor, right? I need help through this process.

Sam Black 
We’re never going to warn our congregation enough. We’re never going to shame our congregation enough into not viewing pornography. Right? I tell parents, if you want to teach your child to hide better, shame them. Because it only creates more self-loathing. It only creates more dishonesty. It only creates more hiding and we want to have authenticity, and that’s where we can really do hard work. And listen, pastors are listening to this and saying, This sounds great, Sam, but I don’t have time to do this. And that’s the beauty of this work. As I traveled across the United States, visiting churches and talking with ministry leaders and pastors who are doing this work well, they said, I don’t do more work now, I do less. That’s the surprise. As we reviewed studies, we found a direct correlation between pornography use and doubts about people’s faith. And these are sociological studies from the University of Oklahoma and others. Lessened scripture reading, lessened church attendance, lack of feeling closeness to God. In fact, they had a direct correlation between how much pornography is viewed and whether you’ll serve in a volunteer role over the next six years. What these churches that we’re doing this work well found is that we have people leaning into their faith, because now that issue that was so shameful and so painful, that they didn’t want anyone to know about now they’re dealing with it well. They are pressing into their faith. Their church attendance is growing, they’re giving more as they go through a process and find real healing. They can’t help but give that away. And they become volunteers. They are the people that say, Yes, Pastor, I’ll teach at Sunday school class. Yes, Pastor, I will do that, go to that event. Yes, I will disciple that other person. Because having had a spiritual awakening, they can’t help but give away the freedom they’ve received.

Jason Daye 
Yeah, that’s good. That’s excellent, Sam. All right. This has been very, very, very helpful. And I know we warned you on the front end of this conversation we’re just gonna be scratching the surface. There’s so much more, I really encourage you guys to grab The Healing Church, which is Sam’s most recent book, we’ve talked about that. Sam, help us know what are, The Healing Church, obviously, other resources, you know, maybe talk a little bit about Covenant Eyes, those types of things? Where can people go to find more about the book about the other resources that you and your ministry have? Because I’m sure they’re like, Okay, yes. Sounds great, Sam. Now, where do I go? How do I find this?

Sam Black 
Well, pastors, administrators, if you go to covenanteyes.com, we have an entire team that’s designed to help churches, that’s all they do. They help support the local church. And there are a ton of resources. So you, for instance, might want to say, Hey, I’d like to begin equipping my parents. Well, we have a program for that. It’s called Safe Haven Sunday. And we walk alongside with videos, posters, all kinds of social media, and other things that you can use to promote a Safe Haven Sunday weekend at your church, where parents begin getting an understanding of how they can begin having this conversation in their own homes and beginning equipping and training. We have tons of resources to help people as they’re in their own recovery. When you find a couple who’s struggling with this and their marriage, we have a great program called Restored Vows that people can go through as well. As for men, there’s a great program called Strive, strive21.com. That’s from Covenant Eyes, and it’s a 21-day detox from pornography. So helping men take their first steps toward that. We have resources for women. We just, we’re overloaded with resources. We’ve been serving for 23 years and Covenant Eyes has produced a ton of resources. And it so happens that The Healing Church is just another one of those resources that we’ve created. And you can learn more about it at thehealingchurch.com, where you can download the introduction and the first chapter at thehealingchurch.com.

Jason Daye 
Excellent, Sam. And if a ministry leader is watching along or listening along and they themselves are struggling, can they go to Covenant Eyes as well? Is there a resource there for them? Or where would you reckon?

Sam Black 
Yes, we have more resources there as well for them specifically. And then The Healing Church is going to also introduce you to resources that are designed to help pastors and ministry leaders.

Jason Daye 
Okay, excellent, excellent.

Sam Black 
Now one more tool that you can download as well. And pastors can download this as well, it’s a new app from Covenant Eyes called Victory by Covenant Eyes. And within, there are about 30 courses. They’re all Free, and it helps understand, Okay, how did I get here? Why did I stay stuck? And how can I begin living in freedom from a mind, body, spirit perspective? We lean heavily into Scripture as well. It is a Christ-based effort. And so again, that’s free. That supports yourself as well as others in your care.

Jason Daye 
That’s excellent, Sam. Thank you so much. I love the work that you guys are doing. Thank you for taking the time to do really a deep dive through your book, The Healing Church on this and the resource that you’ve provided for pastors and ministry leaders. And both for the front stage of our ministry, the ministry we’re doing and participate in. But then the backstage, our own personal relational health, spiritual health, emotional health, those types of things. Such a gift to the church. And we will have links to everything that Sam mentioned because you might be driving your car, you might be out for a run right now, as you’re listening to this. We’ll have links to all those resources in the toolkit for this episode, which you can find at  PastorServe.org/network, so you can check all of those out there. Brother, it was so good to have you with us. Thank you for taking the time to be with us. Just as we close, a couple of words of encouragement to pastors and ministry leaders who are watching along right now?

Sam Black 
Jason, thank you. It has been such an honor to be here. And again, I just can’t impress upon you enough that true freedom is available, help is available. And the team here at Covenant Eyes and thehealingchurch.com. These are resources that we create for you to help you take those next steps, both for yourself as well as for your congregation.

Jason Daye 
Love it. Thank you so much. God bless you, brother.

Sam Black 
God bless. Thank you, Jason.

Jason Daye
Now, before you go, I want to remind you of an incredible free resource that our team puts together every single week to help you and your team dig more deeply and maximize the conversation that we just had. This is the weekly toolkit that we provide. And we understand that it’s one thing to listen or watch an episode, but it’s something entirely different to actually take what you’ve heard, what you’ve watched, what you’ve seen, and apply it to your life and to your ministry. You see, FrontStage BackStage is more than just a podcast or YouTube show about ministry leadership, we are a complete resource to help train you and your entire ministry team as you seek to grow and develop in life in ministry. Every single week, we provide a weekly toolkit which has all types of tools in it to help you do just that. Now you can find this at PastorServe.org/network. That’s PastorServe.org/network. And there you will find all of our shows, all of our episodes and all of our weekly toolkits. Now inside the toolkit are several tools including video links and audio links for you to share with your team. There are resource links to different resources and tools that were mentioned in the conversation, and several other tools, but the greatest thing is the ministry leaders growth guide. Our team pulls key insights and concepts from every conversation with our amazing guests. And then we also create engaging questions for you and your team to consider and process, providing space for you to reflect on how that episode’s topic relates to your unique context, at your local church, in your ministry and in your life. Now you can use these questions in your regular staff meetings to guide your conversation as you invest in the growth of your ministry leaders. You can find the weekly toolkit at PastorServe.org/network We encourage you to check out that free resource. Until next time, I’m Jason Daye encouraging you to love well, live well, and lead well. God bless.

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