There was an article on Facebook this week circulating among those involved and those curious about strip club ministry. Maybe you saw it. The article was titled, “I went to a strip club.” It’s very well done and explains the heart behind the ministry.
The article mentions two ways their ministry reaches the dancers. One was a prayer box in the dressing room, and another was having Bible study in the club itself. As the director of our ministry, I’m always looking for new ways to impact the lives of the dancers we love. But I’ll be honest, that sounded pretty radical to me.
Bible studies for dancers are usually done outside the club, in churches or neutral places. What manager would agree to having Bible study in their club? But as I’ve learned in this ministry: it never hurts to ask because the worst thing that can happen is they say no. So I went into outreach last night ready to ask if we could try this there.
We went to the club last night and were greeted by one of our favorite managers. She has always been welcoming to us and has a great relationship with the dancers. We learned last night that many of the younger dancers call her “Momma”. The irony is: Momma never had children. But the path her life has led her has allowed her to be like the mother to dancers in the clubs she has worked in.
Momma is frustrated tonight. Her bartender is late to work…again. She’s cursing and annoyed. I ask her why she puts up with her chronic lateness and she shares her heart for this bartender. She is a young single mom, desperate for work and struggling to carry the load on her that has spiraled into a dangerous depression. She calls Momma constantly, looking for her approval and support. She won’t stay behind the bar and work. She’s constantly leaving her post to be wherever Momma is in the club.
Momma then goes on to tell us the stories of the other girls at the club that she loves. Stories of abusive boyfriends, addiction and those seeking good guidance. She tells how she often leaves work crying from being emotionally exhausted caring for these young women with so many struggles.
We circle up to hold hands and pray as we often do in this club. Then I ask the first radical question, “Can we put a prayer box in the dressing room.” She answers, “Of course!” Then I ask her, “Would you let us led a Bible study and support group for the dancers in her club?” She says, “Absolutely!” I felt led to take it to an even crazier level, “Would you help us led the study?” Her reply, “I would love that.” We agreed to meet next month to work together to plan the study. She says she always feels better after our visits and is comforted in knowing she isn’t the only one who loves these dancers like Christ does.
I came home to tell my husband how outreach went. I’m still blown away with what just happened. I tell him, “We’re going to put a prayer box in the dressing room and start a Bible study soon for the dancers inside the club and the general manager is going to help us lead it.”
It sounds like the kind of thing you only read about on Facebook.
This featured article was written by Strip Church Network partner Tammy Dunkum of StripChurch- RVA in Richmond, VA