"That gorilla is pornography."
The Missouri Baptist Convention's Christian Life Commission, with Krueger as chairman, plans to tackle the problem head-on through two upcoming workshops.
"Last year when we were discussing our priorities for 2011, pornography and the sexualizing of our culture was a top issue," said Krueger, pastor of First Baptist Church in Linn. "We committed ourselves and our resources to attempting to raise awareness of the problem in our churches and to provide them with resources to combat this scourge."
Titled "Providing Moral Leadership in a Sexualized Culture," the workshops will train pastors, church staff, and congregations for helping people trapped in the web of pornography. The first workshop will be Aug. 27 at Canaan Baptist Church in St. Louis; the second, Sept. 17 at Sycamore Hills Baptist Church in Independence, Mo. Each workshop runs from 8:30 a.m. through 12:30 p.m.
John Splinter, executive director of Pure Hope Ministries in St. Louis, will be the keynote speaker. Attendees will be able to choose from eight different topics during two break-out sessions.
"We're targeting Missouri Baptists through our mailings, but the conference is open to pastors, staff and church members of all faith groups," Krueger said. "This is not just a Baptist problem."
The Internet has been a game-changer in porn delivery, Krueger stated. Previous generations had to seek out illicit magazines or movies in retail stores, but now hardcore content is available anytime free of charge to anyone with Internet access.
"When you had to go into a drug store or video rental place to purchase porn, that kept a lot of Christian men from yielding to the temptation because of the public shame of being seen acquiring such material," Krueger said. "But the anonymity of the Internet has been too big a temptation for many Christian men and women to resist."
Among the findings Krueger cites from various surveys about the nation's pornography plague:
-- 12 percent of all Web content is pornographic in nature.
-- 35 percent of all Internet downloads contain pornographic material.
-- Porn revenue is larger than the combined revenues of all professional football, baseball and basketball franchises - $12 billion a year in the United States and $57 billion worldwide.
-- The largest consumers of Internet pornography are teenage boys age 12-17.
-- 57 percent of pastors say addiction to pornography is the most sexually damaging issue to their congregation.
-- More than 50 percent of evangelical pastors admit to having viewed pornography in the last year.
-- 34 percent of readers of a Christian women's online newsletter admitted to intentionally accessing Internet porn.
Krueger said the workshops reflect the Christian Life Commission's mission to educate and to encourage Missouri Baptist churches to challenge their members toward Christ-like living and the development of a biblical worldview in such matters as family life and current moral issues.
Reported by The Pathway, newsjournal of the Missouri Baptist Convention. For more information on the "Providing Moral Leadership in a Sexualized Culture" workshops of Missouri Baptists' Christian Life Commission, visit "Christian Life Commission Workshop" at www.mobaptist.org/moral_issues or email David Krueger at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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