Why Are Online Support Teams Critically Needed? blog
Tomorrow is our 10-year anniversary. Praise God for what He has done and is doing through 180 Ministries in the 7 churches with the guts to have a ministry to the sexually broken and for the 85 men in the existing Online Support Teams. So, why do we have the OSTs and are they really that important?
I started the OSTs for the simple reason that churches were not willing to open their doors to have a ministry to those who are sexually addicted. In spite of the statistics that say 50-60% of ALL Christian men are addicted to porn and 30% of ALL Christian women are using sexually explicit materials and websites, the churches want to stick their heads in the sand and pretend this is not the case.
So, I have learned in life that when I run into a brick wall and have been beating my head against it long enough to realize the further bloodying of my head is good for nothing, let’s find a different path to meet this incredible and pandemic problem.
Early in the process, I kept asking myself;
“Is this really what God is calling me to do?”
I mean nobody, and I mean nobody wants to stand up and say; “Yes I am a sex addict and I need help!” Pastors have not received training in seminary on how to help a sex addict. Just find a counselor to send them to and keep it all on the down low. After all, if we start a ministry like this then perverts from the community might begin coming to church and we would never want them. Besides, they probably do not even own a suitable suit to wear on Sunday mornings. No thank you … you are not welcome here.
Being pompous, arrogant and highly pharisaical is not an easy thing to achieve however many good people seem to find and lead these fellowships where they can huddle together and shut out the world. All the while sexual sin has been seeping in under the door jams and pouring into their homes via the World Wide Web at the rate of 100 Billion dollars a year.
The question is not “Should we do something?” But, should be “How can we not do something?” It is incredibly dumb to try and ignore something like this that has the power to destroy marriages, destroy families, and even filter down to our children through their smartphones and the family computer. If you are going to allow your children access to a computer or be able to be online, you might as well leave a loaded gun in their bedroom with a bag of pot and a needle full of heroin sitting on their chest of drawers.
I have found the answer to be Online Support Teams. I always thought that having a face to face meeting with people was necessary for real support and change to happen. I have been so pleasantly and unexpectedly overjoyed because that is not the case.
I sit in 8 Online Support Teams a week. We meet online using live streaming for most and we see each other every week. Some who do not want the internet on their phone can just phone in and not use the video.
Here is what has been happening over the past 18 months. The vast majority of men in these group are having more success stopping this addictive behavior than they have ever had in their lives.
They are learning how to be transformed by the Spirit. They are learning from the Bible the answers to their questions about this addiction and how God wants to change them. They are being held accountable for their actions every week. PLUS, they are staying in touch with each other every day by using GroupMe texting app so that at no time do any of them need to be alone. They never have to face temptation in isolation because they are living on a virtual team and are connected at the speed of light. Thank you, fiber optics.
In the coming days, I am going to be posting on our website the stories of these men. Is everyone experiencing this? No. It depends on their situation and their motivation. However, I would say at least 80% would say their success rate is better than they have ever experienced.
Why is that the case?
- The 180 Recovery Program is first and foremost a completely Biblical approach to recovery. We are discipling men from the Word of God in how to actually live the Christian life. It is the B.I.B.L.E. Yes, that’s the book for We. We stand alone on the Word of God, the B.I.B.L.E.
- We learn true and practical ways to deal with this issue. We learn about it not only from a Spiritual aspect. But we learn about the Physiological, Emotions and Relational aspects of this addiction.
- We use strong accountability with one another and help each person learn from their mistakes. Figuring out the why and how of their falls into sin and then helping one another set up good strong boundaries with consequences that have power in them.
- Online Support Teams take geography out of the question. We have 85 men in 9 teams from 11 different nations in the world. Those include the USA, Canada, England, Ireland, Germany, Sweden, Brazil, India, Rwanda, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic.
- We have made it affordable for anyone. I will never allow a person’s inability to afford the videos and monthly fees to keep them out of a group. This is a ministry and not a business.
This is not out of kindness but out of necessity. There are millions of Christian men addicted to porn and sexual sin and probably about half as many Christian women as well.