I remember the first time in ministry that I didn’t know what to do. It was five years ago when this ministry was just a thought, and I found myself in a car with a young woman traveling from Tallahassee to Panama City.
As she was in the midst of detoxing from IV Methamphetamine use in the back seat of my car, she loudly requested that she wanted cigarettes, but had no money to buy them.
I attended six years of Bible college.
I obtained my ministerial credentials.
I had no idea what I was supposed to do in this situation.
Do I buy her cigarettes?
Will that be supporting her addiction to cigarettes?
At least it’s better than Meth!
Am I enabling her?
Could I lose my ministerial license over this?
If a police officer pulls me over, is he/she going to think I’m doing something illegal?
What if I say I’m a minister?
No, I can’t do that, I’m a barely 21-year-old female transporting someone at 3 AM who is going through withdrawls.
“Miss Nicole, there’s a gas station over there!”
I pulled over.
“Here’s some money, pick out the cigarettes that you want because if I go in, I will probably accidentally get the wrong ones.”
She came back into the car, and we proceeded on our last hour car-ride until we hit Panama City.
“Hey, aren’t you a Christian? Isn’t that why you do all this?”
“I am a Christian.”
“But you bought me cigarettes….and I’m detoxing in your car…..”
Insecurity hit again. What did I get myself into?
“Any Christian who would do all of this for me deserves my respect and attention. Tell me about Jesus.”
“Because you bought my cigarettes, you can tell me about Jesus.”
That request began an hour-long discussion which ended with her deciding to “pray the prayer” to become a Christian. We prayed that her addiction to cigarettes and illicit substances would no longer control her. She immediately stopped trembling, her eyes were no longer foggy, and she tossed out the cigarettes that we just bought.
Five years later, she has not had one drug withdrawal (off of IV Meth use) and has felt no cravings to smoke.
What if five years ago, I was so concerned about my reputation and about the “rules” that I refused to buy her cigarettes? This story would have had a much different ending.
I believe that this could also be said for us “church ladies” who go into strip clubs. It’s an “out of the box” type of ministry and calling…..we know this.
I guess you could say that I don’t care about the “rules” anymore. I’m sure by the very nature of what I’ve dedicated my life to, loving women who are in the adult entertainment industry, I have broken many “rules” in the eyes of religious people.
Sometimes, we must first strive to meet one’s physical needs before we have any authority in their life to attempt to meet their spiritual needs. Use wisdom and discernment, but be sensitive to the Holy Spirit. He may want to work through you and His power, even in the uncomfortable circumstances that you find yourself in.
Written by Strip Church Network Partner: Nicole Phillips of Lavished Ministries