#1 Reason Why Young People Aren’t Going on Missions - Radical

#1 Reason Why Young People Aren’t Going on Missions

It’s not debt. It’s not bad theology. It’s not family pressure. These factors do keep people off the field, but they are not the biggest barrier. 

The number one reason young people aren’t going on missions is pornography use. 

The statistics are so common that we can become numb to pornography’s grip on the church. When we see the numbers, it can be easy to feel distant, as if this issue couldn’t be that bad. Let me give a visual example to illustrate the pervasiveness of pornography. 

In January, ten thousand young adults gathered at the CROSS conference. These young people were motivated enough about the plight of the lost to spend hundreds of dollars on a missions conference.

At the end of three days, David Platt told those who felt called to overseas missions to stand up. Imagine an incredible scenario where every single young person stood up. Can you picture it? Ten thousand young people were on their feet throughout the auditorium committing their lives to the mission field.

A few moments pass, and over half of them sit back down. They know that pornography is a persistent sin in their life, disqualifying them from overseas missions

Unless they take serious steps to put this sin to death, they will never be sent. I have no wish to spread a spirit of fear or condemnation—the gospel offers hope. But sounding the alarm is the first step to putting out the fire. 

Sounding the alarm is the first step to putting out the fire. 

Pornography Drains Love for God

God made sex before the fall, and like the rest of creation, it was very good (Genesis 2:18–24). God designed sexuality as a beautiful gift for a husband and wife to share inside the context of marriage. Pornography distorts God’s design by turning sex into a cheap commodity to be used on a series of digital adulteries. To use pornography is to insult the gift God gave us. 

Every gaze locked onto an illicit website is a pair of eyes not seeking the face of God. Every mind consumed by lust is a soul not glorifying God. Love for God and love for pornography cannot coexist—when we feed one, we drain our commitment to the other. 

Satan uses pornography’s cheap thrill to keep us sedated on self-gratification and away from the joy that God offers. When our love for God is dimmed by shame, it’s no wonder we don’t feel an urgency to spread His name among the nations. 

Pornography Crushes Love for People

Every year, millions of people made in God’s image perish without knowing their Creator. Does that grieve you? Love for the lost is a powerful motivation to obey the Great Commission and tell others of the Good News we have been given. 

The same God that commands us to bring his glory to the nations is the same God who will free us from pornography.

Pornography trains us to view others not as people who desperately need the love of God but, rather, as objects for our own satisfaction. Actions have consequences. We are shaped by what we do, and when we make a practice of using other image-bearers as sedation for lust, it becomes impossible to foster a love for them. Image by image, pornography drains compassion out of our lives and numbs us to the plight of unreached people. 

Where is the Hope?

The same God that commands us to bring his glory to the nations is the same God who will free us from pornography and liberate a generation to pursue the lost. The Bible with the Good News of Salvation is the same Bible that gives us the roadmap to sexual integrity. 

Brother or sister, if you struggle with pornography, find a person you trust and confess your sin to them. Ask for help. If pornography has no hold in your life, then become the kind of person a brother or sister could confide in. The church can remove the number one barrier for missions by linking arms, getting on our knees, and putting pornography to death.

This article is part of a mini-series from Jacob Valk and John-Michael Bout on pornography and missions. To learn more, read their articles on Fighting Pornography is a Church Effort and 10 Motivations to Fight Pornography.

Jacob Valk

Jacob Valk is the Director and Producer of the Into The Light documentary and hosts the podcast Chats Under The Sun. He holds a B.A. in Humanities from Brock University and is finishing an M.Div. at SBTS in Louisville, Kentucky.


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