Churches invited to combat pornography

Church leaders have been invited to participate in an international virtual conference against pornography use among churchgoers which organisers call "a pivotal issue" for Christians.

The conference is called "The P-Word Conference" and is a three-day event being hosted 28-30 September this year by the U.K. charity Naked Truth Project.

Lisa Taylor, a Whangarei, New Zealand-based sex addiction counselor is contributing to the conference.

Ms. Taylor runs an online community for the partners of sex addicts while serving on the board of Christian Sex Addiction Specialists International.

She will deliver her insight, guidance and experience as a certified pastoral sex addiction specialist. 

Ms. Taylor said pornography has hit neighboring New Zealand "like a tsunami" and has become a pivotal issue among Christians. 

“The porn tsunami has hit New Zealand’s shores. The Pornhub website announced a few years ago that our country ranked 13th for page views per capita on their website… 2017 research revealed that 67 percent of Kiwi teens have seen internet porn, and New Zealand research from 2021 exposes a strong association between sex addiction, including porn addiction and domestic violence,” she said in a statement.

“Sadly, we know from international research that porn use is almost as common in the church as in secular society. This is a pivotal issue for Christians right now.”

Pornography is not an issue that exists only outside of the church, organisers note.

The P-Word Conference exists to break the silence around the issue of porn in the church. 

“Online pornography has created a huge problem for our communities. The shift from the sex shop to the smartphone means that pornography has never been more accessible, affordable, anonymous, or addictive,” reads a statement issued by the conference organisers.

“In the United States, 93 percent of pastors said pornography is a bigger issue than ever before in their congregations, but only 7 percent of those said their church had a programme to address it."

“Behind these statistics are stories of men, women, and children deeply impacted by pornography: physically, emotionally, relationally, and spiritually. These people are in our churches and communities, walking with addiction, betrayal, trauma, relational crisis, breakdown, depression, sexual harassment, abuse.”

More than 30 expert therapists, coaches, church leaders, and activists have been invited to share their personal stories and professional wisdom so that church leaders can step into the conversation equipped to talk about and tackle porn in their congregations and communities.

The conference is for church leaders, small group leaders, youth and pastoral teams but it is also for any individual passionate about seeing personal and cultural transformation, pursuing freedom from the damaging impacts of porn and inspiring others to do the same through open and honest conversations.

The P-WORD conference is releasing online tickets to help Christian leaders facilitate honest conversations about the social and relational impact of pornography addiction within Church communities and beyond.

Ian Henderson, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Naked Truth Project says the P-Word conference will provide hope and help to churches and church leaders.

“The conference is a great opportunity for Christians of all denominations to be resourced to bring both a pastoral and missional response to all those struggling with the fall out of porn use. The users, the partners, the parents not just within congregations, but also in our wider communities, need churches to be equipped to talk about and tackle the issue of porn,” said Mr. Henderson in a statement.

“When someone says we need help in our marriage because of a pornography addiction, the church can be the place they turn to. The P-Word conference is not only a resource for pornography users to access help from, but an opportunity for whole churches to access the tool kit they need to address all the Kingdom issues at stake from increased pornography use.”

The Samoa Observer understands that leaders from one church in Samoa plan to participate in the conference.

Just last month, pornography was being discussed in local circles after Talamua Media was allegedly hacked, exposing readers to highly suggestive images of scantily-clad women.

When readers clicked on the story function on the Talamua Facebook page, the images appeared. Talamua was working with the government's National Cybersecurity Taskforce to rectify the hack.

Serious concerns were expressed by business associates, friends of Talamua and church ministers at the time.

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