Finding Jesus at a Porn Convention

Last Friday, I attended a porn convention as part of a weekend with Strip Church and XXXCHURCH. Since then, I've received the frequent question, "what was THAT like?" 

It was flashy. It was smoke and mirrors. It was hollow and quite frankly, just not impressive.

You could see the deadness in faces, in eyes that were used to objectifying or being objectified. There was spectacle without intimacy. Smiles that felt fake were attached to women with minimal clothing. There was shock, but no awe.

This is what our porn culture parades in front of us constantly and seeing it in such a magnified setting really exposed the heartbreak behind it all. There's an emptiness to how manufactured the industry truly is. It all feels like a cheapening of something so precious.

The opportunity to watch and observe how XXXchurch does their outreach to porn conventions was absolutely amazing. Their message is loud and clear: JESUS LOVES PORN STARS. They play along with the shock value, but they actually leave people with awe. Awe that Christians would care about their story and getting to know them as a person. Awe that people would pray for them in a place where that was the last thing they were anticipating. Awe that a group could fiercely love those who have very different lifestyles. 

We believe that Jesus meets people where they are. We don’t subscribe to the belief system that God only loves those who live the way we or religion think they should live. We believe that it is when Jesus meets, loves and accepts us where we are, no matter that place that we are transformed by that crazy kind of love.
— XXXchurch

Simply put, the goal is to show up and do what Jesus did - which was hang out and love some pretty interesting people. While at this leaders' weekend, I heard a friend say something very profound: our job is to bring Jesus to these women, not these women to Jesus.

So what did that look like for me while wandering around a porn convention? It looked like chatting with a girl attending the convention at this hippie booth (where I also bought Elephant pants). We talked tattoos and life transitions. She had me guess what spot on her wrist tattoo was part of a coverup. She told me about her Huskie puppy named Nevada. Then I asked her if I could pray for her that jobs would fall into place and for a fresh start in her life with a new move and for a smooth transition. She let me lay hands on her and together we went before a Father who cares.

One of the most powerful moments for me was the reaction of her friends - they were absolutely floored that someone would pray over another person at a porn convention. Multiple times they told me that it truly meant the world to them to just see it. One girl had some negative experiences with Christians in her family and in her eyes, you could just see how desperately she wanted to be loved without stipulations. We got to talk about Jesus and what I do with strip club outreach. The conversation ended with a round of hugs.

These are the moments where Jesus shows up.

Not in facebook arguments or theological debates. Not in waiting for people to come to you. Not in fancy events. In simply showing up in someone's life and loving them where they are at.

The best part is, this isn't limited to a designated outreach experience or a missions trip. It's meant to be a part of the daily life as a follower of Jesus. At the end of the day, we are simply responsible for if we were obedient - not the results. As a friend said, it's our job to bring Jesus to people, not people to Jesus.

We love. That's it. It's messy, but it's simple.