A Twisting Story of Protests, Salvation… and More Protests

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!

16 Responses to “A Twisting Story of Protests, Salvation… and More Protests”

  • sue says:

    “He that hath begun a good work in you, shall perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” – why don’t we just let the Holy Spirit complete the full cycle of these women’s spiritual change? Jesus said that “ye shall know the Truth (HIMSELF) and the Truth shall set you free!” Wouldn’t it be wonderful and proactive just to feed these ones His Word and let His Words change them, their lifestyle and their appetites? Wouldn’t conversion be a better testimony when it comes from a changed heart rather than the legalistic thrashing? “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God” – I feel only Jesus is pure enough and without sin, that only He qualifies to do the “whipping” and the thrashing that He did at the temple, at the sight of their sin and unholiness. How is OUR temple?

    • Charlie says:

      I sure would not appreciate a group of protesters coming to my church, and trying to keep people from entering its wonderful doors.

  • henk van kouwen says:

    The only one who knows the answer is God Himself, our Lord and creator. What the pastor and Church has to do is praying to the Lord and ask Him to help them. To my opinion God already showed what He wants during the Church service when the girls where present.

  • vh says:

    Your article is good about strippers- I’m on blackberry- hard to write – I think your point is. Accurate – the club owner is blinded by many things you have no idea how dark his heart has got to be – but the women are the victims and when they learn to honor themselves and realize how Jesus loves them and knows them- and that he will help them find a better life- when they return to peace. They will no longer tolerate being disrespected by the selfish club owner.the minister proteting each week makes christians look like social freaks- who wants to be that? How would christ handle this? I’m not sure-also don’t cat your pearls before swine- makes me think who in yuour commuinity is huingry for the gospel and seeks the lord? Wonders how to. Please God but isn’t sure where to start? Isn’t that the person this church should be seeking? There’s oinly so much time in a day-propert values my go down w this store but what is Gods priority?

  • Linda R. says:

    I feel as though the church should just let God deal with it, (the closing of the strip club). Two lives has been won back to Christ & that is a Victory. There will always be strip clubs, & I think the importance of getting the ladies away from that lifestyle leading them to Christ is more important than closing the doors of the strip club.
    Have a Blessed one.

  • Stephen F says:

    A wonderful story. We are all sinners — that is God’s truth about us and a key part of the Glory of Jesus’ work and God’s Grace for all us who accept it in faith and belief. By Jesus’ definition, most of us (if not all!) are guilty in our hearts and minds of the same general category of lust and greed that strip club workers and their patrons will be judged for. If you disagree with that statement, I encourage you to take a hard look at Jesus’ teachings and the deep motives our hearts. Before I came to Christ, I was a strip club addict.

    The gospel is about how we admit our need for Christ’s work and seek relationship with Him as a believer, regardless of our exact sins.

    I praise the Lord for the ministry and approach of XXXChurch, because it’s effective at building relationships with other sinners, and leading them to the ultimate relationship and source of our Living Water. How many people do you know that were saved by protests?

  • Gerald says:

    Interesting situation. the first question that comes to mind in dealing with situations like this is How would Jesus have handled it? I cannot see Jesus mounting any protests…so for me that is out of the question. Nor can i see Jesus asking the owner to just close his business.
    Given the experience of the approach of these two persons who through love and understanding was able to have a positive influence and even lead some out of their sinful habits why would this church choose to go back to protesting? There is no doubt in my mind that a world of difference will be made in the lives of people when we show love and understanding. When we show genuine concern and care we have placed ourselves in a positon to instill christian values. Force, dictates, and obstinacy cannot to my mind be the answer. The church is well advised to adopt the practise of Christ of reaching people where they were in the condition in which they were, and if that means going into the house of “sin” and through love ministering to them they should.

    • Deborah says:

      People/brothers and sister. We serve a living and awesome God. When dealing with any problems, we face in this earthly realm. We must plead the blood of Jesus Christ, over the situation. Remember, we are not fighting against the flesh, but spiritual warfare. THERE IS POWER IN THE BLOOD.

  • George says:

    It sounds like, for a time, the church and it’s members were moved by God and following his direction. The protest in front of the strip club is man’s ego blocking God’s work and will. The folks who spoke and presented the Gospel took the right approach. The Pastor saying he will not fail someone, IMHO, is indicative of the problem. It is only God and Jesus Christ who will never fail us. This indicates the ego problem. Showing the strippers, and yes, the club owner, the same love and understanding Christ has shown us is the only path that will work. Ego expression will not!

  • C. D. Moore says:

    Protesting is a fairly useless activity, for which there is no presedence in Scripture. Jesus Christ confronted pharises face to face, but they had leadership positions in the religious community. They should have known better. The unsaved have no Bibical morals or background usually. Everything they do is sin. “An high look, and a proud heart, and the plowing of the wicked, is sin. Prov. 21:4” Because they are unsaved, they “live” in sin.
    There is in this story the answer to what needs to be done. Show those who are unsaved 1st the law (the 10 commandments) which convicts of sin, then the “Roman Road” : We all are sinners Romans 3: 10, 3:23; Sin has consequences Isaiah 59:2, Romans 6:23; Salvation is provided John 3:16; Salvation must be accepted by us and repentance is required & faith is neccessary Romans 5:8; Acts 20:20-21, Revelations 3:20, Romans 3:20, Romans 10:9-13, John 1:12; Confession required Matt.10:32-33, Baptism Matthew 28:18-28, Acts 2:41, 47

    People want to know you care, then they may care about what you know. “Save a Life” organizations have closed a lot of abortion clinics by showing someone cares by providing pregnancy tests, the gospel message, birthing classes, clothes for mother and baby, and supplies. Pretty much in that order.

    To get the girls out of strip clubs a job clinic or a christian job corp type organization would be a start. Ministering is what the Lord taught us to do, not protesting.

  • Lee S. says:

    Our Pastor preached on loving our enemies who are not flesh and blood.
    It is written in Ephesians 6:11-13 NIV “Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” This tells me that the fight is not against the people in the strip club, but the rulers, The authorities, the powers of this dark world, and the spritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. What can we do to fight these forces? It is written in 1 Peter 3:8-9 NLT “Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude. Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what GOD has called you to do, and he will bless you for it.” Let us pray,our FATHER in Heaven may YOUR Will be done on earth as it is in Heaven in the Name of our LOIRD JESUS CHRIST with praise and thankgiving! Thank YOU for strengthening us to love each other and to stand our ground against the wicked and evil forces in the world to bring Glory to YOU! Amen!

  • David says:

    I remember something that many Christians have said over the centuries: God’s kingdom is based on love from our true Father in heaven, unlike every earthly kingdom that is based on fear. Also, there is nothing that can dissolve the fear of God’s coming judgement except the love of God in Christ. Fear is not in love but the perfect love casts fear out because fear has punishment. Moreover he who fears has not been perfected in love. (1 John 4:18) May the Lord drive away the fear on both sides. For it is written, “If the Lord is for us, who can be against us?” And the Lord says, “The ones who are strong do not have need of a physician, but the ones having illness. I did not come to call righteous ones but sinful ones to repentance.” We are really no more righteous in ourselves than such club-goers, and our love for them will prove that God first loved us and gave His only-begotten Son to die on behalf of us. For while we were yet sinners Christ died for us, the godly on behalf of the ungodly, that we might be justified in Him.

  • joebecause says:

    We are to love our neighbors and be an example for them. We are not to protest our neighbors forcing them to believe our way. If some of the people want to study God and hopefully leave their environment then that is the will of God. Be a loving neighbor not forcers of will.

  • Jessica says:

    I have been in a similiar situation, in fact the title is what caught my eye. It wasn’t protest, but it was a young woman who has made some poor choices coming back to Christ.
    You all have shared some good insights. But, if I may share a bit of what this woman faces… It’s economic. How do you get a job with this on your resume, a job good enough to support your family. It’s ego-centric on our part to demand a change because we deem “them” the sinner, unless we also acknowledge our own failures. This is a process which will take time. It’s experience and development required. For some of these women, the value of extremes that some have placed on them is the only self-value they have ever known. It’s going to take some intensive work on the part of the one disciplilne the individual to help them grow a different self-view.
    It’s a hopeful, wondrous thing to see God wipe away the stains of sin. It is a hard working, knee bending, dirtying our hands, putting in the time and effort and not giving up thing to help the life changes start taking place.

    • Chris says:

      Jessica, thank you so much for sharing! You raise a great point about the economics of this situation. Things are rarely as black and white as we might want to make them out to be.

  • Ray says:

    Joshua 24:15 And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord,choose you this day whom ye will serve… They have been given a choice, now I believe the church should use their time to look for lost souls and talk to them about Jesus. The last phrase of that verse says;”but as for me and my house,we will serve the Lord.” Let the Lord handle it now.