Josh McDowell Ministry

Silent Epidemic: The Church’s Problem With Porn

Ross McCall

If you discovered that your church pastor had been viewing pornography, would you immediately want him fired?

Would the answer depend on how recently it had happened?

Would you be more concerned if it was the youth pastor?

A recent study suggests 57% of pastors in the United States struggle with pornography personally, and 68% of youth pastors.

"The Porn Phenomenon" is a landmark study into the problem of pornography in modern society, and the church in particular. Josh McDowell commissioned the Barna Research group to undertake the study. Josh believes that Christians' struggle with porn has reached epidemic proportions and is becoming a spiritual cancer in the church.

He also suggests that pastors and others Christian leaders have been reluctant to talk about this issue because of the risk of exposure attached to it. So educating pastors is the first step in equipping parents to tackle a struggle their children will be unable to avoid.

The proliferation of smartphones has changed the way we live in positive ways, but experts also suggest it has made pornography more accessible than ever before. 

Turning Fears Into Facts

"The Porn Phenomenon" is part of finding ways to bring change. The Barna Group study put hard numbers on a problem many have known was afflicting the church for decades.

Barna’s research demonstrates that:

  • 62% of teenagers (ages 13-17) have received a sexual image via their cell phones.
  • 72% of Christian young adults (ages 18-24) actively seek out pornography on the internet.
  • 3 out of 5 divorces cite the use of porn as a major factor.

The study also shows that the most worrying numbers are all increasing at an alarming rate.

The Search for Solutions

It’s to pastors that Josh McDowell is turning his attention first. "The Porn Phenomenon" found that while only 7% of pastors run programs for those addicted to pornography, 88% believe porn is a major issue in their church.

“I would rather put a fence at the top of the cliff, than an ambulance at the bottom,” says Josh.

He believes the church should be leading society in addressing this epidemic. At a time when the average age a child’s first exposure to pornography happens between the ages of 8 and 9, parents need help now.

And Josh McDowell believes pastors are the key.

Do you want to encourage your church to tackle this issue head on? Flesh is a resource Cru has produced for men. A follow-up resource for women will be available soon.

 

©1994-2018 Cru. All Rights Reserved.