You may have been thinking that sort of thing wouldn’t be happening in your congregation. If you stop and think about all the computers your congregation come into contact with at home, work, school and university, it is very likely that there will be some people struggling with temptation and others who may be facing much more serious problems.
If someone in your congregation has told you they have been looking at pornography on the Internet what has your reaction been? Shocked? Unsurprised?
The Internet is an exciting new technology full of potential for good and overflowing with information that educates and informs. But like most things, it can have a negative influence too. Church leaders need to part of the solution to these influences by giving practical positive advice to encourage wise and righteous decisions and to prevent our families from being exploited by pornography.
Firstly, we hope you will refer to other pages on this website for some background to the issues surrounding pornography and the Internet.
If a person comes to you with a problem you may be able to help them quite easily, just as you help others who come to you with problems. Sometimes just confessing what has been a ‘secret sin’ breaks its power.
We recommend that you encourage the person to do CARE’s Internet pornography self-test. This will give some indication of the problem the person has. Just remember that you will need to explore whether you are really being given an accurate picture of their pornography use.
Having acknowledged that they want to change, you can be a point of accountability as they seek to break the habit. You could also consider setting up a support group for this person and others in the church.
But you may also feel that what the person is sharing is outside your experience and you need some extra help. CARE will try to direct you to individuals who can provide specialist counselling. You could also contact your local branch of the Association of Christian Counsellors. There is also the Premier Radio helpline on 0845 345 0707. In very extreme cases the police may have to be involved. We hope and pray that the compassion of Jesus will be shown by all church leaders towards the strugglers, and support for their families.
You probably think you are the only one: ‘How can I be a church leader and be looking at pornography?’ CARE’s survey of church leaders showed us what we had long suspected: leaders are under the same pressures of sexual temptation as everyone else. In fact the often pressurised life of a church leader combined with time away from the family and solitary periods during the day makes pastors and ministers especially vulnerable to the lure of pornography. We suggest you find a fellow church leader you can turn to and go through the ‘Do I have a problem with pornography?’ page.