You’ve decided you’re going to do it. You are going to reach out to women struggling with porn and lust. Maybe you’re a former addict wanting to be a steward of your brokenness or maybe you are a church wanting to be a place of hope healing and grace. It’s a novel goal, a good goal, a God-honoring goal, but it’s just a goal.
Obviously, this is just one example of an outreach to women. There are many different ways to do this. Sometimes I say, “There is more than one missionary to China.”
We each have our own unique talents, giftings, callings and strengths and those will shape both the style of our ministry and the method of it. So, when I refer to Beggar’s Daughter in the following steps, it is only because Beggar’s Daughter is the ministry I know. Is it the only way? No. The best way? I’m biased. But it is a way, and for people who don’t know any way, hopefully it can help. This is material I share with churches and youth ministries looking to start a ministry for sexually broken women.
1. Pray. That should go without saying, but I know I have been guilty of countless times of seeing a need and pressing forward without prayer. Yes, there is a need. Yes, there is a giant to fell, fair maidens to rescue and dragons to slay but charging into battle without God is a bad idea. No, you don’t need weapons of mass destruction or an arsenal of resources to start, but you do need Him.
2. Get a team. We’re not talking about starting a non-profit. You can if God so leads, but it is not necessary. This is not a non-profit. It is important to have a support network.
It is vitally important to surround yourself with people who have an interest in what you feel called to do and can even help you. This team may include people who can actually minister with you, or people who can offer critique on what you’re doing. Either way, you also need a solid group of friends to keep your feet on the ground, and keep you accountable.
Before Beggar’s Daughter ever started, I built a network of friends specifically to help me with it. That core network, which still exists to this day, consists of a variety of people. The women who have struggled are fierce supporters and keep me accountable to progress.
Since Beggar’s Daughter has been a writing-based ministry from day 1, that core network also consists of fellow writers who challenge, not only my writing skills, but also my theology and are willing to dig deep into the doctrines of Christian life and grace. It also consists of ‘friends in the field’ who identify with the struggles of doing this ministry whether they be speakers, writers, or others active in the world of purity outreach.
For you or your church, that team will consist of prayer warriors, partners, supporters, and others. However you feel God is leading, do not go it alone.
3. Commit. Don’t necessarily commit to a plan (goals are great; set in stone plans can be rough); commit to following God. There is so much wisdom in Proverbs 3:5-6 when we are told that God will direct our paths. Female porn addicts are not used to loyalty. We are used to being loved and left. For that reason, developing a strong ministry in this may take time. Healing takes time. I have worked with girls online for a year sometimes just to help get them on their feet. This is a committment, which is why you need prayer and a team.
4. Have a Plan. It’s going to change; you need to know that, but it is important to know where you are going with this. How have to have a starting point. What is the purpose of your ministry? What is the desired end? How can you carry that out? Maybe you feel led to counsel young women who struggled and are dating, engaged, or married. That ministry will look different than a ministry to teenage girls who are addicted.
Also remember, that the broader your ministry, the thinner it is.
If you want an in-depth ministry that consists of one-on-one discipleship and accountability, you need to narrow your focus to a target group or else have a big team ready to help. Otherwise, understand that you, as a human being, have limitations and cannot mathematically be an accountability partner to 30 women at the same time.
Remember, the style of your ministry will change. As you understand the greatest need in your area and as God grows your talents and gifts (because He will), you will find new opportunities arising, but the focus will likely stay the same.
5. Step Out. In this case, it simply means opening your mouth. This can be hard for some (it was for me) because there is a fine line between bragging about your sin and starting a conversation about grace.
If God has called you to share your story in a broad, sweeping, thin ministry, then consider starting a blog or a website. If you feel called to a more localized ministry, then start right where you are- your church. Talk with your pastors. Help them understand the need and offer to help. Be willing to ‘take ownership’ of your calling, and understand that it might take a little persistence to help them understand the need.