“Follow me to my office,” the club manager said after we asked about starting outreach in his club. Once back there, he said, “I have to ask, why are you doing this?” I told him what I tell everyone who asks, we believe Jesus loves the strippers and we want to support them. No catch. No gimmick. I also had to assure him we would not stand out front and picket as this was among his chief concerns. With my simple answer and after a whole lot of prayer leading up to this night, the club manager graciously granted us permission to serve in his club
After almost a year of serving in the clubs, telling people “I believe Jesus loves strippers and we should too” has become a conversation I have quite often. I can say it with conviction because I believe it with every fabric of my soul. I can also say it because I have seen Jesus show up in some incredible ways in the clubs we serve. But I have learned sometimes people need more of an explanation. Sometimes simply saying Jesus loves them and so should we isn’t quite enough to convince them we should be spending our evenings in a strip club (even if it should be).
So when asked the inevitable why question from someone, I have come up with a few more reasons as to why we should love strippers.
Because Jesus came to save the lost, the sick, and the broken.
Luke 5:30-32 says, “And the Pharisees and their scribes grumbled at his disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” And Jesus answered them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.”
Jesus left a pretty clear model for us to follow. He spent time eating with the sinners and instructed his disciples to do likewise. Jesus spent time with the lost, the sick, the broken, and the lonely. He brought community and hope and comfort. And those things are desperately needed by all of us. I am not all that different from the girls I hang out with in the clubs. I need Jesus just as much as they do and I was just as broken and lost before I met Him. I long for community. And I want so desperately to share the hope and love of Christ with those around me. Jesus set an example of loving the world enough to give His own life, shouldn’t we be willing to love those around us-even the girls working in the clubs?
Because Jesus didn’t ask us to get it together first.
Titus 3:5 says “He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,”
John 4 tells us the story of the woman at the well. Jesus asks her for a drink of water which was already breaking the rules of the day and goes on to recount her current less-than-holy lifestyle. But He didn’t stop there. He did not read her a list of her sins and send her on her way. Instead, He offered her living water and she went on to share the message with her friends and family. How different would the story have been if Jesus had told her to go clean up her life and then come back?
Jesus’ love meets each of us where we are and rescues us from the mire. As we serve in the clubs, we humble ourselves at the foot of the cross and bring a message to the mess of life. The cross is an even playing field and open to everyone, a message for which I am eternally thankful.
Because light shines in darkness.
Matthew 5:14- says “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.”
John 1:5- says “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”
We are called to be the light of the world. And sometimes being the light means going into very dark places. It means risking our reputation to share the light. It means spending time sitting on a dirty floor talking to a girl about her kids or her mom or the car accident she got in last week. In those moments, you forget the club is dark because light has overtaken it.
Jesus promised us He would never leave us. He promised us the gates of hell could not prevail against the church. And He called us to follow His example. Love and hope can overcome a whole lot of darkness and the message of Jesus calls us to love those around us-whether they are in our homes, the grocery store, or a strip club.
Featured Blog is from Strip Church Network Member: Amanda Schmidt of The Hadassah Group in Evansville, IN