Scarlet Hope - Radical

Scarlet Hope

In my early twenties I felt God calling me to share the hope and love of Jesus Christ with women in the adult entertainment industry.  I had never been inside a strip club before, and I didn’t know exactly how I was going to do this, but I knew I couldn’t just sit inside the four walls of a church building.  I knew God was calling me to go, to meet the women where they were and share the gospel with them.  If I wasn’t willing to go inside the strip clubs and meet with the women face-to-face, how would they ever know about a God that loved them so much that He was willing to die for them?  I knew God was calling me to action and that He wanted more out of me than just having feelings of compassion for women in the adult entertainment industry.  He wanted me to do something about it.

In 2008, I started Scarlet Hope, a ministry that reaches out to women in the adult entertainment industry.  Every Thursday night we take home cooked dinners to hundreds of women in the adult entertainment industry.  Our prayer each week is that we’re not just feeding their stomachs, but that we’re feeding a deeper spiritual hunger.  Our consistent presence each week allows us to form relationships and earn trust with the women working in the clubs.  We know many of the women by name; we know their kids’ names.  We know their struggles and pains in life; we know their hopes and desires for the future.  And as these relationships grow, God allows us to pray with the women and share the gospel with them, oftentimes in the middle of the strip club!

Through this ministry, I’ve seen hearts changed and lives touched as God has drawn many of these women to Himself.  I’ve seen countless women who were living in utter darkness become totally transformed by the cleansing blood of Jesus Christ.  And in the process, my heart has been drastically changed as well.  Not only do I have a better understanding of my own sin and depravity and the amazing grace of Jesus, but I have seen the power of the Holy Spirit and what He can do.  I have seen some of the hardest hearts softened and some of the deepest wounds healed by His insurmountable grace and love.

It’s funny, but since the beginning the dancers have always called us “the church ladies.”  I never thought I’d end up with such a traditional title doing such nontraditional work for God, but I think that’s exactly the kind of church lady God was calling me to be.  By His grace, I have been given the opportunity to be the church to women working in the strip clubs & massage parlors.  Instead of waiting for women in the adult entertainment industry to walk into a church building to hear the good news of the gospel, we at Scarlet Hope bring the good news to them.  And that’s what makes it such good news, isn’t it?  That while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  This is the message that we bring into the doors of the strip clubs each week, that God loves us in spite of our sin, and that Jesus specifically came to save the sick, the lost, and the broken.  This is good news to women who have never known real love or felt true hope before, and this is the good news that I get to be reminded of every single day as I do what God has asked me to do.

Rachelle Starr is the founder and executive director of Scarlet Hope, an outreach ministry in Louisville, Kentucky, that demonstrates Jesus’ love with women working in the adult entertainment industry.

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