Category Archives: Sexual struggles

Training event for church leaders about how to help sexually struggling people

Helping the Sexual Strugglers

A training event for pastors, church staff, and lay ministry leaders

June 4, 2009

Changes in society and the advent of the Internet have led to an epidemic of sexual struggle around the world. All are vulnerable, huge numbers of people are struggling, and for many the struggle has developed into a full-blown addiction. Church leaders are looking for ways of helping people caught in the web of compulsive sexual behavior. Our vision at Recovery Remixed is to provide teaching and guidance not only to sexual strugglers, but also to the ministry leaders who seek to help them. So we are jointly sponsoring this training event with Faithful and True Ministries for pastors, church staff, and ministry leaders.

Many people needlessly suffer because the church leaders providing teaching and care to them have limited knowledge about sex addiction /compulsive behavior and inadequate approaches to dealing with it. We want to present the findings from the latest research and our experience in working with strugglers, in the hope that more can be done to stem the tide of this growing problem.

Register today for this important training event for pastors and church leaders.

What is it?
Helping the Sexual Strugglers is a one-day training event for pastors, church staff, and small group leaders. The primary facilitator of this workshop is Rev. Mark Brouwer, director of training for Faithful and True Ministries, and writer of the blog Dr. Mark Laaser will also teach for part of the day, presenting his learnings from over 20 years experience of helping addicts find recovery in hospitals, treatment facilities, and private practice.

When and where will it take place?
Date: June 4 (Thursday)
Time: 9am to 4pm
Location: Faithful and True Counseling Center, Eden Prairie, Minnesota.

How much will it cost?
Cost for event is $59.

Who should come?

  • Senior Pastors who want to find ways of building church ministries to help a growing number of parishoners struggling with their sexual behaviors
  • Staff pastors who oversee men’s and women’s and recovery ministries
  • Shepherding pastors who oversee counseling, marriage ministries, or pastoral care in their churches
  • Youth pastors who want to learn more about this growing youth ministry trend
  • LIFE Group leaders, or Celebrate Recovery Leaders who want to learn more about addiction and how to lead others in recovery
  • Parachurch leaders and denominational executives who want to learn how to protect and care for leaders who struggle with addiction

What will I learn?

  • How to understand the nature of sexual struggle, and how it manifests itself in compulsive behaviors and addiction
  • Understanding the three different kinds of people in your church who are impacted by sexual challenges (sexually vulnerable, sexual strugglers, and sexually dependent), and how to minister to them
  • Why it’s so hard for churches to deal openly and honestly about sexual struggle … and what to do about it
  • Strategies for churches to protect themselves from predators and the moral failure of leaders, while at the same time dealing openly and gracefully with sexual struggle
  • Strategies for church leaders to protect themselves from getting sucked into compulsive sexual behavior, and how to go about recovery if they already are
  • Best practices for ministries and effective groups that deal with sexual struggle

For any questions, or information about registering for this event, contact Mark Brouwer at 952-746-3885, or email him at: mark(at)markbrouwer(dot)com.

New program for people struggling with compulsive sexual behavior

Leaders are human, and they struggle with sexual issues just like everyone else. The only difference is that for leaders of faith communities, a sexual misstep can be a career-ender. In fact, even rumors of sexual struggle can damage a leader’s credibility. The result is that most church leaders who struggle are hesitant to get the help they need. So they suffer in secret, and the monster in the closet gets ever more powerful.

Our companion site,, has an article about a new program we’re starting up to help people face and overcome their struggles with compulsive sexual behavior. It’s called “90 Days to Sexual Sanity,” and it’s a great program for pastors and other church staff who want to get help, but don’t know where to turn. The program consists of daily instruction, devotional material, and tasks to do, combined with a weekly telephone conference call for support and coaching. As the title suggests, it lasts for 90 Days, and is intended to help people get a new start in facing this challenge. It starts Tuesday, January 6. Check it out.

The danger of pedestals

Someone just forwarded me a meditation from Today, a family-oriented recovery meditation book from Hazelden. It contains great reminders about the importance of letting people be who they are, and not putting them on pedestals. Read on, as I’ll quote the meditation:

Because you’re not what I would have you be, I blind myself to who, in truth, you are.
–Madeleine L’Engle

Sometimes we expect far too much of the people around us, and because no one can ever live up to those expectations, we are almost always disappointed. But wouldn’t it be better if we just let go, and let people be who they are? Then we’d be able to see them as they are – with all their beauty and goodness in which we take joy, and with all their faults, which we can also see in ourselves.

When we have put someone up on a pedestal, sculpturing them to fit our needs and desires by smoothing out the rough edges and creating new curves here and there, we cannot see the real person underneath our work. All we see is the illusion we have created. That is denying the person’s real identity and is disrespectful. It’s much better for our friends and for ourselves if we drop our expectations and illusions, and accept them all just the way they are.

What unfair expectations do I have of others?

One of the greatest challenges for leaders – especially pastors – is that people bring into their relationships with us a powerful mixture of expectations and illusions about what an uber-spiritual person should be. They want to see us in a good light, because this affirms their faith … the leader of their spiritual community can serve to validate the power of that faith.

Continue reading The danger of pedestals

Recently published “Click” has interesting insights about web porn use

Everyone knows that church leaders are not immune to sexual temptation, especially the pornography that’s readily available on the Internet. I just read an interesting book on Internet trends that has implications for pastors — for the health of their own souls, and for their awareness of what people in their organizations are struggling with.

Bill Tancer, who leads global research at Hitwise (an online market research company), has written a book about Internet use trends called “Click.” It’s an interesting read, and has some information specifically related to online pornography use. I’ll share a couple of statistics, and then add some of my thoughts.

In the massive database of websites that it tracks and analyzes, Hitwise follows the usage logs of just over 40,000 adult sites. Tancer offers some insight based on the analysis of these sites.

Overall porn use

  • In August 2005, 16% of all web traffic was on these 40,000 adult web sites. In other words, 16% of all web use was focused on 40,000 porn web sites.
  • In August 2007, 10% of all web traffic was on these 40,000 sites. That represents a decrease in porn use, relative to other web traffic. (There are a couple caveats I would throw out, however. See below.)

Time spent on individual porn sites

  • in August 2005, the average time a given user spent on a given adult web site was 5 minutes, 38 seconds.
  • In August 2007, that time had increased to 6 minutes, 29 seconds (an increase of 15%). Tancer suggests that the reason for the increase of time on each site has to do with the increased availability of video on adult web sites.

Percentage of women and men accessing porn sites

  • Of the 40,000 adult web sites Hitwise tracks, 73% of the visitors were male, and 27% were female.
  • Tancer doesn’t relate these figures to specific months of his study, and instead implies that this gender breakdown has remained fairly constant over the last couple years.
  • Some people might be surprised at how high the percentage of female visitors is to adult sites, because of the gender stereotype that women are not as attracted to visual pornography as are men (again see my comments below). But Tancer reminds readers that the adult sites also include erotic story sites, which have a higher percentage of female readers than male.

Continue reading Recently published “Click” has interesting insights about web porn use

Guess how many church leaders are struggling with pornography?

The latest in the series of alarming trends among church leaders … pornography use continues to escalate. I’m going to quote Tal Prince, from an article in the “Alabama Baptist” online newspaper:

In an anonymous survey conducted by Leadership magazine, seven out of 10 lay leaders in the church admitted to visiting adult Web sites at least once a week. When pastors were asked the same question, four out of 10 said they did the same. If that many of our leaders struggle, what do you think is happening in the pews? Also disturbing here is the fact that those addicted to pornography will lie in surveys such as these.