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1/31/13 at 06:26 PM 0 Comments

Say No to Ministry Porn

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By Darryl Dash

One of the things I appreciated about last week's Global Church Advancement conference is that there were no big names, except of course for Ed Stetzer, who warned us against chasing after big names.

Steve Childers, founder and president of GCA, explained why they don't bring in the big names. He wants to avoid what he calls ministry porn. His definition of porn goes something like this (I wish I could remember the exact wording):

porn - an unrealistic depiction of something that doesn't exist that robs you of what you already have that's good and beautiful

I love it. It's a good definition of porn in general, and it certainly applies to the ministry as well.

It reminds me of what Eugene Peterson writes about ecclesiastical pornography:

Parish glamorization is ecclesiastical pornography \u2014 taking photographs (skillfully airbrushed) or drawing pictures of congregations that are without spot or wrinkle, the shapes that a few parishes have for a few short years. These provocatively posed pictures are devoid of personal relationships. The pictures excite a lust for domination, for gratification, for uninvolved and impersonal spirituality.

So alluring. So empty. God save us all from ministry porn.

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The title of this post is going to bring all kinds of strange traffic from the search engines.

One of the things I appreciated about last week's Global Church Advancement conference is that there were no big names, except of course for Ed Stetzer, who warned us against chasing after big names.

Steve Childers, founder and president of GCA, explained why they don't bring in the big names. He wants to avoid what he calls ministry porn. His definition of porn goes something like this (I wish I could remember the exact wording):

porn - an unrealistic depiction of something that doesn't exist that robs you of what you already have that's good and beautiful

I love it. It's a good definition of porn in general, and it certainly applies to the ministry as well.

It reminds me of what Eugene Peterson writes about ecclesiastical pornography:

Parish glamorization is ecclesiastical pornography — taking photographs (skillfully airbrushed) or drawing pictures of congregations that are without spot or wrinkle, the shapes that a few parishes have for a few short years. These provocatively posed pictures are devoid of personal relationships. The pictures excite a lust for domination, for gratification, for uninvolved and impersonal spirituality.

So alluring. So empty. God save us all from ministry porn.


Darryl Dash is a church planter at work in starting Liberty Grace Church in Liberty Village, Toronto, and blogs at Dash House. Dash writes "about Jesus changes everything."

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