Church vs Strippers

I’ve been following the story of New Beginnings Ministry in Warsaw, OH vs. Fox Hole Club a strip club. New Beginnings has been protesting in front of the club for about 4 years to get the club to close. Recently, the ladies of the club and the owner have been sitting in front of the church during Sunday morning services.Here’s the latest on the failed meeting between the owner and the pastor.  This reminded me of a story that I heard about 12 years ago.  I understand the story to be true, it was told during a church growth seminar by the District Superintendent of the denomination which was involved.

The story takes place in a town in Southern New Jersey. This particular church had gone through a split. There were about 10 or so members that had stayed with the Assistant Pastor. They met for prayer every Monday morning. Around the same time an adult bookstore opened in town. This became a matter of concern and prayer for the small church. Some wanted to stage a boycott of the bookstore. Others wanted to petition the elected town officials to see if there was something that could be done. It was decided not to take action, but to pray for the week and seek God’s will. The week went by, and they met the next Monday for prayer. One of the members of the group said that he felt God was leading him to do something totally radical. This member had a landscaping business, he would offer to do the landscaping at the adult bookstore. He felt that this would give him contact with the owner and he would let God use that contact.

The landscaper approached the bookstore owner with a deal he sorta couldn’t resist. He offered to do his landscaping for half the price of what the other business was dong it for. The only restriction woud be that he would not enter the store to be paid, the owner would have to come outside to pay him.

Time went on, the landscaper did excellent work, the Monday morning group prayed for the owner every week without fail. Whenever the landscaper picked up his payment he would tell the owner that his church was praying for him although he never “witnessed” to him. The landscaper also invited him to the prayer meetings.

One Monday morning the adult bookstore owner showed up at the prayer meeting. When I heard this story, it was described as he burst into the meeting. He said that he couldn’t take it anymore and he became a Christian. A couple of months later, the bookstore was closed and the owner became a member of the church.

To get back to the New Beginnings story for a moment. There are times when I believe that we fail to show the love of Christ to those we want to witness to. The question that I have for Pastor Bill Dunfree of New Beginnings is this: Which is more important, getting the club closed or ministering to the owner and the employees? Ministering might just do both.

Published in: on 08/23/2010 at 9:46 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Jesus Loves Strippers

One of my frustrations with Christianity is that the Church (for the most part) has trouble relating to sinners as they are. We spend an awful lot of time trying to change people before they come to church. I believe that this is due to the fact that we really don’t trust the  Holy Spirit to work in people’s lives.So, much of ministry is spent trying to change people’s behavior before they become Christians.

It’s very easy to hand a tract to someone and be on your way. It’s much more difficult to become a part of someone’s life, befriend them, and deal with the messiness of life. However, that’s what most people need.It’s also what Jesus did

There’s a ministry in Waco, Tx called “Jesus Loves Strippers”. It’s run by a husband and wife team Brett and Emily Mills with a few volunteers. Emily and the female volunteers bring bags of gifts to the strippers in their dressing rooms. From the story:

Every month, the couple and about a half-dozen volunteers hit the Waco strip club circuit — Sonny’s BYOB, Show Time and Two Minnie’s — with bags of gifts from local sponsors filled with makeup, cookies, bandages and school supplies in August.

Wearing purple “Jesus Loves Strippers” T-shirts, Emily Mills and the female volunteers approach the dancers in their dressing rooms early in the night. They use the gift bags as ice-breakers and, more often than not, conversations flow from there.

The volunteers don’t bring Bibles. They don’t launch into talk about God.There’s a ministry in Waco called Jesus Loves Strippers.

Here’s what I think is the most important point in the story (emphasis mine)

“Only God can change a person,” said Emily Mills, a 32-year-old mother of three. “Our goal is not to go in and change them, but make them realize that God loves them no matter what they do and where they are.”

Anyone from the anti-gay or anti-abortion movements reading? Changing people’s lives is God’s domain. We’re here to show love and compassion, not hatred and disdain. Too many of our attempts to communicate with non-Christians are loaded with judgment. Which is why many people don’t take us seriously. Spend your life judging other people and soon no one listens.

Brad and Emily have the concept of ministry down. They are helping the people who Jesus wanted to reach and have answered the question WWJD. Those who have lives that are messy, complicated, and hopelessly confused. Jesus likes a challenge.

Published in: on 07/11/2010 at 2:13 pm  Leave a Comment