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Going for the Root and Not Just the Branches: Route1520

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It's probably not news to you that a number of aspects of sexual sin continue to plague not only our culture, but also the church. This is one of the reasons we have highlighted Route1520 as a Counter Culture ministry partner. Route1520 offers gospel-centered help for those who find themselves in the grip of sexual sin.

Like all other sins, Christians must actively fight against sexual sin on a daily basis. However, this daily battle cannot be disconnected from the gospel. With that in mind, we asked Traylor Lovvorn, co-founder of Route1520, to explain how the gospel figures into their approach of addressing sexual sin, and then to offer several ways in which Route1520 offers ongoing help in this battle:

1. Many people trying to fight sexual addiction would say they believe the gospel. So how does the gospel affect the way you counsel people who are struggling with sexual sins?

It is no secret that pornography, sexual addiction, and other forms of sexual brokenness are reaching epidemic, if not pandemic, proportions in our culture. God’s beautiful gift of sex is being profaned and defiled by our enemy in every imaginable way. But God is not wringing His hands over this issue. Instead, He is using the struggle with sexual sin to lead men and women into a deeper understanding of His gospel of grace . . . the only thing that has the power to change our hearts. In this way, pornography and other forms of sexual sin actually become a gateway to the gospel. THAT is good news!

Most say that they believe the gospel, but, when you begin to get beneath the surface of what they actually believe, you find that most have a fundamental misunderstanding of grace and the gospel, which leads to a practical theology that points to more willpower, more discipline, more effort, and more striving as the keys to bringing about lasting change. When it comes to sexual sin, instead of helping individuals “fix” this area of powerlessness with new tips or techniques, we want to help them embrace their powerlessness and limitations so that they begin to see their desperate need for a Savior.

At Route1520, we use a tree to help illustrate this concept. Picture an enormous oak tree. Let’s say that the branches all represent some form of sexual behavior that we are trying to overcome and change in our lives. Much time, effort, and energy is spent sawing off those branches of unwanted behavior. When we have successfully sawed off a branch, it feels like a victory in the short-term. The problem, however, is that the branches grow back, often bigger and stronger than they were before.

Instead of offering men and women a better or different saw to get rid of these branches of unwanted behavior, we point them to the root issues that drive the behavior and gently help them understand that their problem is actually much bigger than they realize. This opens the door for us to reveal to them the good news of the gospel–that, through Christ, God has done for them what they could not do for themselves, and it is not up to them to change their hearts. Instead of more striving, more doing, and more performing, men and women are free to receive God’s unconditional love and to simply rest in the fact that they are a beloved son or daughter.

As illustrated in Luke 15, the truth of the gospel is that it is God’s kindness that leads us to repentance. Only the unconditional love of the Father can overcome the shame and self-contempt that results from sexual sin in a believer’s life. Route1520’s weekly recovery communities are safe environments where individuals are reminded of these truths that can be so quickly forgotten. As the Centurion prayed in Mark chapter 9, “I believe; help my unbelief!”

2. What tools and resources does Route1520 offer to help men and women address the deeper, root issues that drive the struggle with sexual sin?

Our main focus is to come alongside the local church and other ministries by providing solutions that address the heart and not just the specific external behavior.

These solutions include:

  • Christ-centered recovery communities for men and women
  • Relationship and recovery coaching for strugglers and their spouses
  • Crisis coaching for ministry leaders to equip as they shepherd through a specific incident involving sexual addiction or brokenness
  • EMBARK: a 4-day recovery intensive for men
  • GroupNow: a comprehensive resource kit designed to help churches establish a safe culture for sexually broken people within their congregations

Connect with Route1520 on Twitter (@route1520) and Facebook, or online at Route1520.com.

— A former pastor, Traylor was married for 11 years before his secret struggle with pornography and sexual addiction ripped his family apart, leaving his wife and 4 children to try to figure out what had happened to Daddy. After 6 years of divorce, God miraculously restored and reconciled his family and he was remarried to his ex-wife Melody in 2008.

Traylor co-founded Route1520 in 2010 with Melody to address the growing epidemic of pornography and other forms of sexual brokenness within the church. Traylor and Melody co-host a weekly podcast called Undone Redone, facilitate weekly recovery groups for men and women, and spend much of their time coaching and encouraging those who have been impacted by sexual brokenness.

Traylor and Melody live in Birmingham with their four children.

Connect with Traylor on Twitter (@tlovvorn) and Facebook, or email him at [email protected].

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