A few weeks ago, a local strip club made headlines by staging a counter-protest in front of a church. The church had been protesting the strip club’s presence in less than tactful ways for the past four years, and the club owner and workers couldn’t stand it anymore.
I dismissed the story as yet another example of two groups yelling at each other in lieu of finding a real solution. A few days ago, however, I noticed a XXXChurch post by Sherri Brown of JC’s Girls and Anny Donewald of Eve’s Angels. They’d gotten wind of the fruitless protests and counter-protests and felt called to go and share the Gospel with the women from the strip club. Sherri, Anny and crew managed to lead a few of the girls from the strip club to Christ. Afterwards they were invited to speak at the church and the service ended with the church members and strippers hugging, crying and asking for forgiveness.
Here’s an excerpt from a their journal entries which were published on the XXXChurch blog:
We went into the club and were blessed by flowers & cards from the girls!!! We had such a wonderful night with them. God spoke into us and then we spoke into them. It was so not us, which made it very supernatural. Two of the precious girls gave their lives to the Lord and a few rededicated their relationship with Him!!! Yea God!!! We just LOVE these beautiful girls with ALL of our hearts and pray a special blessing on them and their families. [...]
As the church left the building, they became Jesus in Flesh and the Love of the Father poured out all over these girls as they began to Love them, hug them, and seek forgiveness from them!!! Our Sweet Lola was broken and afraid to trust the church. Pastor Bill Hugged her and held her and promised with all his heart he was not gonna fail her. He prayed for her and it was AMAZING!! I saw my beautiful Lola Smile from ear to ear for the very first time!!!
Up to this point, it’s a fantastic story of God’s love intervening in a seemingly deadlocked situation.
However, yesterday a report was published in a local newspaper that makes me wonder if much has changed. The pastor of the church sat down with the owner of the club and asked him to close his business. Unsurprisingly, the owner said, “No.” So, the church is going to start protesting again, which in turn will lead to the strip club counter-protesting. Here’s the meaty part of that story from the Coshocton Tribune:
Dunfee says he would have accepted nothing less from George than an offer to shut down his business.
The pastor says church members will continue to gather outside the club on weekend nights, as they’ve done for years.
He says he expects George and women from the club will keep up the Sunday protests they began several weeks ago at the church in Warsaw.
Clearly, this situation is complicated. It’s hard to really know what’s going on based on a few blog posts and newspaper articles. But looking in on it from afar, I can’t help but think that the church would be better off focusing on ministering to the girls rather than protesting. The protests aren’t getting either side anywhere. The club owner has little incentive to close his club in accordance with moral standards he doesn’t agree with.
They’re returned to how things were rather than moving forward from the spiritually healthy events that transpired almost a week ago.
What do you think about this story? How would you respond if you were a part of the church in this situation? Do you think the church is in the right to continually protest the club?
Share your thoughts!