strip-church-xxx-church

Interview With Tara Ulrich Gives You an Insider’s Look at Christian Outreaches to Sex Industry Employees

Peter Guirguis Sharing Christ 8 Comments

Recently we’ve been going through a series about evangelism outreaches to those who work in the sex industry.  In case your just joining us, you can check them out:

Today I’m concluding the series by giving you a behind the scenes look at two excellent ministries that reach out with the gospel to sex industry workers like exotic dancers, prostitutes, and porn film actors.

We’re blessed to have Tara Ulrich with us today, who works with Strip Church and XXX Church.  Fasten your seat belts because you’re definitely in for an exciting ride.

What is Strip Church?

Strip Church

Tara: Strip Church is an organization that teaches, serves and equips women who have a heart and calling to reach out into strip clubs, sharing the great news of Jesus’ love and forgiveness. We provide trainings each year, developing leaders to start a strip club ministry in their cities.

From these trainings, we have created a network of 40 ministries all over the U.S. and some internationally. The Strip Church Network is supported through monthly training conference calls, resources, networked websites, blogs, prayer, and branded materials to use inside the clubs.

What is XXX Church?

XXX Church Tara: XXXchurch is an online resource for those struggling with an addiction to pornography. We prevail through awareness, prevention and recovery.

XXXchurch also hosts a booth at porn shows around the world, sharing the love of Christ to the consumers and those in the industry.

What is your role within these two ministries?

Tara: I am the Strip Church Coordinator, in which I cover all of the event logistics for our Strip Church Trainings, manage the registrations, and run our social media sites. I also help to manage our Strip Church Network, updating our network members, providing them with resources and encouragement.

For XXXchurch, I help with some of the logistics for our outreach trips like shipping bibles, registering our booth space at the conventions, and creating recap videos.

Can you please tell us a bit more about Strip Church’s ministry?

Tara: Our ultimate goal is to let women working in strip clubs know that they are loved and valued.

How we do that is by actually going inside the clubs to bring goodie bags filled with things like makeup, nail polish, and sometimes even cupcakes to the girls working there.

We let the girls know that they are loved and that we want to give them a gift with no strings attached. Our goal is to build ongoing relationships outside of the clubs.

Is there a need for ministries like yourself to exist outside the walls of a church?

Tara: We don’t see ourselves as ‘outside the church’ nor do we think that the church should have walls. We love to partner with local churches and stretch the boundaries of what is classically deemed evangelism.

There are several churches across the US who have seen the areas of evangelism on their own, but there are so many more that we are reaching out to to help grow in these arenas.

Bringing down the walls between the church and sex industry workers

Do you guys partner up with other churches?

Tara: We do. We reach out to churches in the areas where we hold our trainings to let them know we are offering this training event.

All of the people that attend our training are connected to a local church. The local church is vital in running this type of ministry, so we ensure that each of our ministries have a church that is backing them up.

What is the reaction of other Christians when they learn about your ministry?

Tara: Many of them are very supportive and in agreement of this ministry. We find that they are usually surprised to find that people are actually doing this sort of outreach.

It’s not something you hear of every day. But of course, we have had our share of opposition, which has mostly come from churches.

There are some that would argue that the names of your ministries are provocative or controversial.

Why did you guys choose to include “XXX” and “strip” in the names of your ministries?

Tara: We intentionally mingle the sacred with the seedy and yes, it’s thought-provoking.

Many Christians have tried bland or tame approaches by talking about ‘purity’ or holiness, but far too often the true natures of what we are dealing with gets lost in those discussions.

The church at large needs to be challenged about the reality of our world, what real people are dealing with every day.

We can’t back down from these topics or shy away from them and we feel compelled to start the conversations, which our names and marketing do.

Having words like “Strip” and “XXX” in their name has helped Strip Church and XXX Church reach those who were unreachable before

 

Can you share a recent story about someone from the sex industry that was impacted by your ministry?

Tara: Check out this recent blog post by clicking here.

What types of reactions do you get from those who work in the sex industry when you interact with them and tell them about God?

Tara: Most of them love it! Our ministries share with us the things that girls say when they go into the club. Here are a few things that women have said:

“I’m not used to getting gifts from women. Only men give me gifts. Thank you!”

“We love you guys – you are always welcome here!”

“Thank you so much! It’s the only gift I will get today.” ~ Quote from a dancer on Valentines Day this year.

“Nobody has ever loved me with a love that is clean & pure…until I met you ladies and you have loved me with His love until I found it for myself and then He made me clean from the inside out…”.

This is from the owner of the club;

“The girls are really talking and liking whatever it is that you’re doing when you’re here. Please keep it up. I can really see a difference in their attitudes when you leave.”

Who can be a part of your ministry?

Tara: Any female leader with a love for Jesus and a passion to reach women working in the sex industry. We have women that are house moms to women who were once in the industry.

And of course, they must be 21 to enter the clubs. :-)

It seems like a majority of the people who serve in this ministry are women. Should/can a man also be involved in ministering to women in the sex industry?

Tara: We do have some men involved in this ministry. Obviously they don’t go into the strip clubs, but we have many that provide support through things like prayer, gift bag assembly, driving vans to the clubs, and even tech support for our ministries’ websites.

Many men feel called to help out and our ministries always have a place for them.

How can somebody know if they are called to your type of ministry?

Tara: We are all called to evangelism with the gifts and experience that God has given us. If you drive by a strip club and the Spirit breaks your heart for the women working in there who have not experienced God’s endless love, then you are probably called to reach them.

You don’t have to be a leader in your church, a former stripper yourself, or feel like you posses any special skills.

The requirement? A true sense that God loves these women and you can be a part of that relationship journey.

Do you have any questions for Tara?

Tara has been kind enough to make herself available to answer any questions you might have about Strip Church, XXX Church, or about reaching out to those who work in the sex industry.

Go ahead, feel free to ask Tara anything or drop a comment about your thoughts on this topic.

 

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  • http://twitter.com/lugojiano 1lugojian

    Jud 1:4 For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.

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

      Thank you for sharing that verse. May I please ask you what it was that you were trying to communicate by sharing it?

  • http://twitter.com/kurt_bennett kurt bennett

    “When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, ‘If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is — that she is a sinner.'” Luke 7:39

    Of course He knew. But He also knew those ensnared in the sex trades need Him just as much as the rest of us.

    While I’m not called to this ministry personally, I applaud those who are.

    Thanks for sharing on this important topic.

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

      Thanks Kurt for your support and also for sharing this very important verse. That’s exactly the kind of verse that comes to mind when thinking about these two amazing ministries. So many people in the church are quick to point their fingers and to criticize those who are meeting people’s needs. I’m glad that we can support these ministries in one way or another.

      Blessings Kurt :-)

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  • http://www.facebook.com/lyn.leahz Lyn Leahz

    I was never in the sex industry, per se, however, I was enslaved to sex, lust, exhibitionism, fornication, adultery, and the such. I ended up with four pregnancies, outside of wedlock, one which happened in the act of adultery, while I was married.. bondage to sex and lust nearly destroyed my life and took me away…far away..from God’s true purpose for me. I praise God each and every day for making me a new person. For years now, I have not had the desire to participate in any of the shameful thoughts or acts I used to succumb to.

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

      What a wonderful testimony Lyn, thank you so much for sharing that – it’s so encouraging! What was it that made you give your life to Jesus, if I may ask? How long ago was that?