What Should the Church Do About Strip Clubs?

What Should the Church Do About Strip Clubs?
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I never thought I’d see the day when I’d write a blog post about strip clubs and the church.  I never even thought that my wife and I would have a conversation about a strip club, but we did just this past weekend.

Don’t worry, it wasn’t the kind of conversation that goes, “Oh my gosh Peter, I can’t believe you went there!!” :-).

No, let me explain.

Our Story: Our Church is Sandwiched Between 2 Strip Clubs

The First Strip Club Opens Years Ago

Our church, Calvary Chapel South Bay, is located in Gardena, California.  Less than 1 mile away from the church is the Spearmint Rhino strip club, which has been in business for a number of years.

It seems like the strip club was a welcome addition to the city because not many people opposed its opening.  You see, strip clubs are quite profitable not only for the club owner, but for the city too.

From the money spent on over-priced drinks to the dollar bills spent on the services that are offered, these types of clubs make a TON of money and offer a nice pile of cash back to the city in terms of taxes.

We’ve prayed for years that God would close that place down and that people would have their lives changed by coming to know Christ.  While I’m sure that some people have gotten saved who used to go to the Spearmint Rhino, that club is still open today and is thriving :-(.

One Strip Club Closes Down

However, our church did experience some success in closing down a different strip club.

In the 1990′s, there was another club about 3 miles away from the church called the Pussycat Theater.  One of the pastor’s at the time led a group of men and women to stand in front of the theater on weekends to pray, preach the gospel, and to sing praise songs.

Guess what?

After 1 year of doing this and by the grace of God, the Pusscat Theater served its last drink and closed down for business.

This just goes to show that faith in action really does work when it’s God’s will.   (tweet this if you believe it)

The Second Strip Club Opens

I wish I could have said that that was the last strip club open in our city.

In January of this year, we learned that a new club was going to open called Bay Girls.

Our pastor led our church in contacting local government officials to try to have the strip club re-locate before it opens up.  More than 3000 people signed a petition telling the city that we didn’t want this type of business in our community.

Why?

Besides the fact that strip clubs ruin the lives of both men and women, this club is also on the way to school for some of the city kids :-(

The media got wind of the story and the next thing we know, we had news trucks on our church grounds wanting to do an interview!  Here’s a 2-min. video of our assistant pastor, doing a great interview with ABC7.

Despite our efforts, the Bay Club strip club opened it’s doors in January of this year and continues to do business :-(.

Now What?

You’d think that all Christians had the same point of view on how the church handled the opening of the Bay Girls Club, right?.   Nope.

Most Christians thought that we were right in taking the stance that we did and for being a light in the community.

However, there were some that thought that we shouldn’t fight the opening of the strip club. They argued that we should allow it to open in peace, and then to reach out with the love of Christ to the customers, the employees, and anyone else that frequented the business.

I have my opinion and I’ll be writing more about it in a blog post next week.  But how about you, what are your thoughts?

If a strip club were to open less than a mile from your church, would you let it open without a “fight”?  Should the church reach out to strip club customers and employees to share Jesus with them?

Will that put those who are reaching out in danger of falling into temptation?

[image via Matt Gruber]

 

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Peter Guirguis

Peter Guirguis

I'm the Technology Manager of Calvary Chapel South Bay, a church in Gardena, California. My passion is to see people give their life to Christ both online and offline. I've created the free guide to getting thousands of Twitter followers to show ordinary people how to get extraordinary results on Twitter.
Peter Guirguis
Peter Guirguis
  • http://www.darnellclayton.com Darnell Clayton

    Have you not considered that God has allowed the strip club to open so that your church could reach a lost generation of men addicted to the sexual lusts of the flesh?

    We are called to be salt in a world full of manure, which means sometimes we have to be surrounded by things that disgust us in order to enlighten people that God has more for their life than sexual encounters with strangers and cheap wine.

    • http://dev.notashamedofthegospel.com/ Peter Guirguis

      I definitely have considered that Darnell, and it’s definitely something that I’ve been pondering since the opening up of this new strip club. Sometimes I just wonder about how receptive people will be coming in and out of a strip club like this. But then again, nobody is beyond the Holy Spirit’s reach :-)

  • http://twitter.com/todd_harder Todd Harder

    A couple of quick thoughts:

    If your church was successful in getting the club closed wouldn’t the owners/girls just go to someone else’s neighborhood to work? So that begs the question what does ministry to the dancers/owners look like? I am not certain standing outside preaching that gospel/handing out tracts to those going in and out will truly transform lives for God’s glory. So what I am really wondering is how you go about developing a relationship and meet them where they are at, so you and they are at a place where they can hear the gospel and move out of the lifestyle that they are trapped in…

    If a club opened up near our church I would lead the congregation in prayer, but no petition drives or protests…rather I would challenge the congregation how to engage individuals in Life Transformation Groups and this fall we will launch Community Groups and once that happens I would challenge the CGs to attempt to adopt the dancers, owners and patrons to help move them outside of that lifestyle.

    Looking forward to seeing how you wrestle through this issue…

    • http://dev.notashamedofthegospel.com/ Peter Guirguis

      Thank you Todd for sharing your feedback and insights. I think that the situation doesn’t really have one right answer and it all depends on how God is leading the congregation. I personally don’t have any experience of successfully ministering to these types of precious people. Who knows, maybe some of the strategies that you write about would actually work.

      Thanks for your thoughts :-)

  • http://twitter.com/lyfecthru Lyfecthru

    Think positive. Yes, some of us have to pass a strip club (or two) on the way to church, but many have to pass our church on the way to the strip club.

    We are the church. The Christian is a part of the church body, whether we are in the sanctuary, at home, work, the market, etc. Focusing on the clubs down the street takes away from the families being destroyed right in church because of lust. Our families are under attack at work, home, school… I bet very few involve actual strip clubs. I can choose not to go to the clubs but there are women dressed like strippers all over the church. What then? I think our hearts are in the right place in trying to end these clubs but we’re missing the elephant in the room.

    • http://dev.notashamedofthegospel.com/ Peter Guirguis

      Those are all really good points that you make Lyfecthru. All of these are problems I think that we face in the church today. I know that the church is far from perfect and that we need to make sure that we are addressing any “elephants in the room”.

  • Paula Guerrero

    The environment of a strip club is nothing but Sinful things. Lies, Adultery , lust, drugs, drinking, and sadly to say prostitution. Most strip clubs are involved with sex trafficking and the victims are minors. Young innocent children are being force. Hopefully these strip clubs with the Grace and Power of God will shut down! How? Well that’s for the church to pray on and God will guide us to the answer <3

    • http://dev.notashamedofthegospel.com/ Peter Guirguis

      I’m afraid that you are right Paula. There are lots of things that happen behind-the-scenes at strip clubs that are absolutely horrendous. I really like the way that you put your comment, that it’s up to the church to pray so that we can seek Gods counsel on how to move forward. I really found that there is no cookie cutter answer for how to handle such things. It has to be Spirit led.

  • kurt bennett

    Interesting post Peter.

    I was sharing with a pastor once, how I had to go to Vegas for a firefighter conference, and how I didn’t care much for that town because of the darkness there. His response surprised me. He said for me to shine for the Lord as best I could while I was in that dark place, because it’s easier to shine in a dark place than it is in a bright place.
    That being said, I don’t see a cut and dried answer here. A situation like this one requires we seek the Lord’s direction in prayer. With what I know about Calvary Chapel South Bay, I’m sure you’ve done that. And I’m sure you’re on the path God has in mind for you concerning your new neighbor.
    If the strip club stays, the good news is, God can use anything, even strip clubs, for His purposes.

    • http://dev.notashamedofthegospel.com/ Peter Guirguis

      I like how you put it Kurt, that we can shine brighter in the darkness. How true is that! I know that you are someone who likes to pray about everything and is Spirit led. And that is a wonderful example. I hope that we follow suit :-)

  • http://dev.notashamedofthegospel.com/ Peter Guirguis

    That’s fantastic! I actually had come across your video and your website a few months ago before I wrote this blog post. I was planning on featuring your ministry in a blog post next week and talking a little bit about it. Would you happen to be available for some interview questions?

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