A documentary confronting the epidemic of online pornography addiction, coupled with a discussion guide produced by BC Safe Church, a ministry of the British Columbia Christian Reformed churches, is becoming a popular tool to help congregations present and grapple with the issue. Over 18 seeks to raise awareness of the instant access children and teens have to addictive pornographic content through any connected device. Maple Ridge (B.C.) CRC is one of a dozen Christian Reformed churches to host a screening since the film was piloted in February.
Fay Martin, an advocate for the regional group of churches to the Safe Church ministry, is an active promoter and facilitator of the initiative. She was behind developing the discussion guide to provide churches with a resource to engage the conversation. The guide in turn was adapted, adopted, and subsequently branded by Hope for the Sold, the organization that produced Over 18. BC Safe Church provides online resources and can arrange professionals for panel discussions for individual church screenings.
Addiction to pornography accessed over the Internet is an identified and expressed concern for church leadership across the globe. The possibility of addiction to online porn crosses all socioeconomic, racial, religious, professional, age, and gender barriers.
“It’s not a ‘you’ issue. It’s a ‘we’ issue,” said Randy Green, one of the pastors at Maple Ridge CRC. “It’s extremely important that we face this together in community.” Green acknowledged that some were shocked by the stories and statistics in the documentary. “[Porn] is defining our culture, and unless we speak up and speak out, it will continue to do so,” he said.
Following the screening, Maple Ridge CRC’s pastor for family and community engagement, Jacqueline Donkersloot, hopes for purposeful action, including small group discussions, organizing accountability partners, and potentially placing a group order for the Internet access control device KidsWifi. Donkersloot is especially pleased with the quality and authenticity of the documentary. “I highly recommended it in dealing with the issue, but also as an excellent film,” she said.
The film is gaining traction across the denomination. Bethany CRC in Fenwick, Ont., is hosting a viewing in October, as is Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich. “It is our prayer that this will be a helpful resource and a source for equipping parents and grandparents to engage their children in hard topics and walk alongside them,” said Andrea Veldhuizen, youth director at Bethany CRC.
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