Sometime back there was a story in the news of a Christian organization that was suing a strip club that was next door for being too loud and disturbing their prayer time. Also, there was another church in dispute with an additional strip club.
The television news program was showing church members shouting ugly, shaming and condemning insults at the women.
I would like to share with you and perhaps those ministries what our church did with a strip club in our area. But before I do, I want to communicate that I do not know all the details of their situations, rather would simply like to share what I feel "Is A Divine Strategy of The Kingdom."
For approximately three years we sent a team of women from our church to the club late afternoon/early evenings on major holidays and brought the girls gifts as well as gifts for their children. We began this on Valentine's Day with permission from the owner and continued to come out on other major holidays doing the same.
We never addressed the girls as strippers, rather, "Daughters of the King." You see, they also are made in the image of God. According to scripture, they are knitted together by God in their mother's womb, fearlessly and wonderfully made. (Ref Psalm 139). They just needed to be introduced and receive their Heavenly Father.
During that time, several of the girls built relationships with some of the ladies on our team, which included women who once were a part of that lifestyle, all the way to grandmother-age ladies. From those relationships, some of the girls changed their life and occupation. Our folks never judged or condemned them; rather they blessed, listened and loved them.
About two years into this outreach, one of the bouncers at the club died suddenly. He was in his 50's and many the girls looked to him as a father figure who protected them. He had worked there a long time and his passing was difficult for most of them.
They also had another dilemma: They did not know anyone to perform his funeral, so the club manager called our team leader and asked if she would contact me to do the funeral and provide the facility.
We said yes.
We had a full house in the chapel that day, including women who worked and had worked at the club, their boyfriends, male employees, some customers, our outreach team and our hospitality team, which prepared a homemade lunch following the service, and my precious wife who many of the girls gravitated to at the meal.
I prayed that morning asking the Lord to give me the ability to look at those girls the same way He looked at the woman at the well; He graciously and powerfully answered my prayer.
I also asked Him for a word to share from His heart that neither condoned nor condemned. He did.
Following a short message, I gave an invitation to accept Christ; every hand of those guests was raised, and they all came to Jesus.
Prayer is precious and sacred to me, and like the folks in this ministry, I don't like it disturbed, either.
However, I have learned that the purpose of prayer is to kneel in the other world to spend intimate time with Jesus, so we can then stand like Him in this world, shining as light in dark places.
While I never would condone the existence of these establishments or anything else that exploits women, I do champion God's church demonstrating HIS nature to all, always remembering that: "The Divine Strategy of the Kingdom is Love."
He raised Himself up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” — John 8:7
Don Sturiano is the senior leader at Kingdom Life Christian Church, 3700 26th St. W. in Bradenton. They meet each Sunday at 11 a.m. Visit KingdomlifeChristianChurch.org for more information. Faith Matters is a regular feature of Saturday's Bradenton Herald and is written by local clergy members.