We welcomed people as they arrived, while being hopeful that people would take time on a summer evening to come to an inspiring program. The featured speaker was nationally known Christian author, speaker, and licensed family and marriage counselor Dr. Doug Weiss of Heart to Heart Counseling Center in Colorado Springs. Brookside CRC provided a wonderful, spacious venue for the event.
This was the final rally of the Shore2Shore with a Roar motorcycle trip, designed to raise awareness about the devastating effects of pornography and how churches can respond. Dr. Weiss was sharp, funny, and down to earth as he shared from the Word of God as well as from his own experience. He began with celebrating the wonder of the gift of sexuality that God has given each of us. It only makes sense that such a gift, so strong, beautiful, and powerful, would be a good target for the enemy of God, who seeks to destroy God’s good gifts. I believe that everyone who attended was blessed by their experience and the information gained.
Turnout at the event was a bit disheartening -- and that may be an understatement -- to the Shore2Shore riders who had hoped to end their ride with a much larger rally. Afterward, we discussed why more people did not take advantage of this opportunity to hear more about an issue that is deeply affecting so many of our church families. We did all the usual things to promote this rally: flyers, emails, bulletin announcements, etc. The fact that, unlike other rally sites, there was no local organizing team here in Grand Rapids was an issue for sure. And it was a Friday evening in July after all. However, I think there may be deeper reasons involved. One is the nature of the issue of pornography. It’s not something that “good Christians” talk about. And since we don’t talk about it, there is a lack of awareness of its prevalence and its devastating effects. It is hidden beneath a veil of silence, along with other abuse issues such as sexual assault, domestic violence, church leader misconduct, etc.
A challenge for Safe Church Ministry, and also for our churches, is how to bring these hidden issues out into the open where they can be compassionately addressed. How do we create openness where deep sin and struggles can be acknowledged? How do we build understanding? How do we help individuals and communities journey together on paths toward healing and wholeness? What are some of the ways your church addresses hidden things that are difficult to talk about? To be all that we are called to be in Christ, we must seek answers to these questions.
It is the hope and prayer of Safe Church Ministry that those who attended Shore2Shore events will take something from their participation back into their own context; it could be into their own life and family, or into their church community. May the Lord add his blessing to those who are working to rend the veil of silence and who have the courage to speak, bringing light into the darkness.
Find more information on internet pornography on the Safe Church website.