FBC North Mobile to hold menís event to discuss porn, manhoodcomment (0)
September 4, 2013
A church in south Alabama is taking action to stop the scourge of pornography by hosting a men’s event called “Battle Plan” to speak frankly about what must be done to equip believers for victory.
What they’re doing, Pastor Ed Litton said, can be replicated in churches across the nation.
Litton has been pastor of First Baptist Church, North Mobile, in Saraland for nearly 20 years, and in the past five years or so he has noticed what he calls a cultural avalanche.
“I’m certain other people are seeing it too, but as a pastor I’m watching marriages in my church be ravaged and destroyed. I’m watching men become less directional about their leadership role in the home and the church,” said Litton, a former president of the Southern Baptist Convention Pastors Conference.
“In counseling and trying to deal with these issues, we suspected that one of the major issues for men is pornography.”
About six months ago, Litton read “Closing the Window” by Tim Chester. Though he had read several books on fighting pornography, Litton said this one stood out as one that was especially practical and honest.
“The thing that I was most encouraged by with Tim’s approach was that it wasn’t a shame-based approach,” Litton said. “One of the things I will say about the southern culture is that we are a shame and honor culture.
“I was in Japan last summer on a missions trip. That’s a shame and honor culture, but I felt the whole time like I was in south Alabama in that sense,” Litton said.
What he means by a shame and honor culture, Litton said, is that people refrain from talking about certain subjects openly and publicly. One such topic is pornography.
“That was the driving motivation for us to say, ‘We’ve got to stop this.’ If we hope to turn this around, we’re going to have to deal honestly and frankly with this subject and lift the lid on shame,” Litton said.
“This is every man’s challenge at some level. We’ve worked really hard to present a plan that isn’t the broken struggler — the guy who would identify himself that way. It’s for everybody. Many of us are broken and many of us struggle.
“Our basic idea is that it’s a frank conversation about porn and manhood and the ultimate beauty for which every man longs,” Litton said.
So Sept. 19, from 6 to 8 p.m. men will gather at First, North Mobile, for Battle Plan: Men Fighting for Freedom. Litton will lead the discussion, along with Neal Ledbetter, director of campus life at the University of Mobile (UMobile).
Ledbetter is a member of First, North Mobile, and Litton described him as “a young man who’s very sharp and really understands this generation of students and what they’re struggling with.”
“He deals with this on a daily basis, so I went to him and told him about Chester’s book. I told him, ‘You need to read it and we need to sit down and talk. I’m thinking a Thursday night event, two hours where we just have an honest, frank conversation,’” Litton recounted.
Their approach will be gospel-centered, he said, and they’ll talk about God’s original intent in creation followed by the fall and the cross.
“Ultimately there is no hope apart from what Jesus did for us on the Cross,” Litton said.
That will be covered during the first hour of the event, and after a short break the men will reconvene for a panel discussion and end with five points of the Battle Plan — “five things that they’re going to need in order to be victorious,” Litton said.
UMobile, which is about 3 miles from the church, is promoting the event among their student body, and Litton hopes every man on campus and every man at the church will attend.
First, North Mobile, also will provide a live video feed of the event, and people across the country will be able to watch it on their iPads, laptops or with others.
“We’ve got churches that are going to show it in the auditorium, and we’ve got churches that are going to tune in to it in their small groups,” Litton said.
Someone said recently that the antidote for shame is the phrase “me too,” Litton said. People are better able to cope when they know they’re not the only one struggling. But he’d add a second phrase, he said: Jesus said, “Come to Me.”
“He’s the source of cleansing and overcoming,” Litton said.
“Pastors have got to be transparent with our people, especially our men. We’ve got to tell the truth about ourselves and our own struggles, whatever those are and at whatever level,” Litton said.
To view a video about the Battle Plan event, visit https://vimeo.com/73468637.
The effort at First, North Mobile, coincides with the Join One Million Men anti-pornography initiative (see story, this page).