180 Ministries – Our First 10 Years – blog
In five days 180 Ministries will celebrate 10 years of helping people struggling with sexual brokenness. I thought that I would share with all of you what God has done in the past 10 years, so we can all celebrate it together.
February 9th, 2009 a man names Gus and I started 180 at Vineyard Columbus. Gus and I had been accountability partners for three and a half years and wanted to have a small group where we could help other men in our church who was struggling with this highly addictive sexual behavior. We both knew from our own experiences how destructive this sin had been in our lives and hurting wives and the loved ones of our families.
We started 180 because we both needed to have a place where we could tell the truth to one another and help other men learn what the Bible teaches us about sexual purity and to find freedom from this sin that so easily entangles.
Nine men showed up at that first meeting. Three of them are still attending 180 because it has become the place where we are discipling other men and teaching them how to walk in sexual purity. I will forever be grateful to those men who have not only found much healing by God but are continuing to help other men in this battle.
Eventually, our 180 community grew to over 100 men attending on Monday nights. So, about three years ago one of our leaders, Joe, wanted to start a 180 Ministry in his church which was about a 30-minute drive from ours. We launched our first extension of 180 at Delaware Grace Church in Delaware, Ohio. Joe leads the men’s group and his wife leads a group for wives. They are an awesome team and in the near future Hilaire, Joe’s wife will be publishing her book telling their story.
Over the past few years, 180 has grown exponentially. There are now 5 churches hosting 180’s in the greater Columbus area and another in Duluth, Minnesota. However, we have found it difficult for churches to want to start a ministry like ours. I won’t go into details about why they would not want to have a ministry that is Biblical and has been working for 10 years, but personally, I find their excuses pretty lame. I mean if 60% of the men in my church were drowning, I think I would hire a lifeguard.
At the end of December of 2011, I read this passage in Hebrews 3:12-13;
“Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God. 13 But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.”
So, on January 1st, 2012 I began writing a daily email to encourage believers regarding sexual sin. Over the past 7 years, that list of people receiving these emails has grown to 2090 subscribers in 56 nations around the world. I have written and sent over 2200 emails to encourage. I like to say I have replaced my sexual addiction with a writing addiction.
Because so many people want and need help in this battle, in the Fall of 2017, I started Online Support Teams. These have slowly grown from 1 to 9 in the past year with 85 men finding weekly accountability and daily support in 9 different nations around the world. We have gone Global to men in the USA, Canada, England, Ireland, Sweden, Germany, Brazil, South Africa, India, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic. By the end of this year, I hope to have 20 Online Support Teams helping over 200 men. We do have a lady who is seeking to help women who reach out to us.
In total over the past 10 years, 180 has grown from the original 9 men who came to the first meeting to over 2100. I like to think of us all as being one community or even to think about us as the 180 Church!!!
In August 2016 180 Ministries was granted by the IRS the status of a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation. This allows us to offer all of our products and services to people without charging them taxes and to allow all donations to be tax-deductible gifts. So, we began accepting donations for the work of this ministry. Between the donations and the funds raised by the Online Support Teams, we have been able to continue providing help to anyone the Lord leads to us.
In May of 2017, I made the decision, by faith, that God was calling me to do 180 Ministries full time. So, I left my work as a recruiter, after 8 years, and trusted that this ministry would be able to support me doing it full-time. After the past 21 months, I am deliriously glad to say that God has met our every need.
Also, in the summer of 2017, I became a certified Sex Addiction Coach by Dr. Doug Weiss and the American Association of Sex Addiction Therapists. Since then, I have had the joy of coaching over 50 men one-on-one, teaching them how to begin to break free from sexual addiction and then having them join our Online Support Teams.
To all of you who give yearly and monthly donations, I cannot express to you how much I love you and appreciate your allowing me to do this ministry full-time. We are helping hundreds of men grow in their recovery, saving marriages, helping families and strengthening believers so that they can in turn help serve in their local churches. There is also a growing list of pastors who are seeking help from 180.
God has been speaking to me about His future plans for 180 Ministries. I want us to begin to see ourselves as a Global Community of Believers helping one another find freedom from sexual sin. More on that tomorrow.
Finally, as we celebrate our first 10 years, I would like to ask you to pray about making either a one-time special donation to 180. Or, if you are not supporting us would you consider becoming a monthly supporter? If the Lord leads you it would be great if you could give $15 a month which would equal $180 a year. I don’t know … seems like a good number to me.
Simply go to the donations pages on our website and give as you are led by the Lord.