Thursday, October 13, 2011

We Don't Do Altar Calls

     When Marty and I travel to a church and share our story of recovery around sexual addiction, we don't give an altar call at the end. Don't think us unspiritual, but we are not there to expose anybody who may be struggling with sexual sin, but rather to encourage them , connect with them, and hold out hope. That's not to say that we don't talk to several people after a seminar or a sermon. Some boldly approach us, like the woman who bee-lined to me after I was done preaching. This stranger hugged me, and through her tears, thanked me for sharing my story. Her marriage was destroyed by her husband's pornography use, but her gratitude towards us revealed that there was healing happening in her heart.

     Another young man waited patiently for us to finish up a conversation. He was a brawny guy, looked like he could hold his own, but he sat there timidly until we were available to talk. He told us that he used to be a bouncer in a strip club, and that job led to him participating in adult films. He admitted he had been completely desensitized to the intimacy that is supposed to be involved in sex. Then he looked at me and with one tear running down his face he asked, "With my past, how is anybody going to love me?" We were there to hold out hope to him.
     After one particular weekend of ministry, we were packing up the car getting ready to pull out. As I was putting our bin in the trunk, another young man walked up to us. Perhaps he didn't want anyone to see him talking to us inside the church for fear of people wondering what his motives were in approaching us. He apologized for interrupting our departure, but I assured him we were there for him. And he began to tell us his complicated story. We listened, encouraged, held out hope, and prayed with him.
     And these individuals represent people who sit in churches all over our country. On the outside, everything looks normal, but behind the scenes is a story that no one would fathom. That's why we do what we do. We share our story of brokenness and healing so that others will know there is hope. Our details may be different, but our God is the same and His healing is available to all His hurting children.
     If anything is taken away from a sermon, a seminar, or a one on one conversation, we want it to be the message that there is hope. We are living proof. So, we don't do altar calls, but a lot still gets accomplished whether it's inside the building or out in the parking lot.
     There is hope.