For more than 20 years, Scott McLellan and John Broome have been involved individually in leading recovery and counseling ministries.
But it wasn’t until last year that the two began working on a concept to minister to men in churches regarding seldom-discussed topics: sexual addiction and pornography. So, they launched True Grit Ministries in Tyler.
“The church, it’s not always the safest place to deal with your struggles,” said McLellan, who has worked as a businessman, pastor and youth pastor and struggled with sexual addiction himself.
Broome has been involved in biblical counseling for more than 20 years, worked in the business world and as a chaplain and has overcome drug and pornography addictions.
McLellan said they see True Grit Ministries as an equipping ministry, equipping men and churches to be able to have a Godly control of this area of their life.
Sexual sin is nothing new, McLellan said. It’s been around for thousands of years.
What is new is the accessibility, affordability and anonymity, which allows people to engage in it much more easily than before.
McLellan said a sexual addiction typically is defined by two key factors. It is a behavior the person is powerless to stop and it has created unmanageable circumstances.
The actual addictive behavior can look differently depending on the person. Pornography is just one type of activity people with sexual addictions can engage in and is more common because of its accessibility. Other behaviors could include masturbation and the seeking out of multiple sexual partners.
A person typically reaches the point where they seek out help once they’ve hit bottom, which McLellan calls “the gift of consequences.”
“The fear of the continued consequences is greater than the fear of losing the addictive substance or the acting out,” he said.
These consequences vary. A person could lose their job because they have become ineffective at work or were caught looking at pornography in the office.
“Someone who is desperately addicted is thinking about, planning, obsessing about sexual things from every waking moment,” McLellan said.
So, they go from a highly functional, capable person who was used to getting eight hours of sleep to someone who is staying up until 2 a.m. looking at porn or chasing a one-night stand.
“Now is it reasonable to be able to function as effectively on only four hours of sleep when I am used to getting eight hours?” McLellan said.
Sex addicts generally cannot have intimate relationships that last whether they are married or not.
Physically, for a man, he can lose his ability to perform sexually with his wife because his ability is limited to whatever his form of sexually acting out is.
Beyond that, people with addictions often isolate themselves and become singly focused on their addiction.
They no longer get as much joy spending time with their spouse, their children or participating in activities they previously liked.
This is why and where McLellan and Broome want to help. Their ministry involves a three-tiered approach.
It is a workshop with a large-group setting; a six-week small group for men who acknowledge they have a problem; and one-on-one counseling for men who desire that.
McLellan and Broome are in the process of visiting churches and meeting with pastors to tell them about the ministry. They have had one workshop at a local church. The theme of that was, “How to Protect Yourself and Your Families from Sexual Impurities.”
The workshops are designed to educate men and give them “a track to run on for recovery,” McLellan said.
“Most pastors or church staff members have had zero or very little real training in how to deal with sexual addiction, or even where to send somebody for help,” McLellan said.
Even pastors who have a great deal of care or concern for the person in need may not know what to do.
And despite what some people might think, an addiction typically is not something a person can just stop. That is why it is called an addiction.
“It hijacks the brain,” Broome said of sexual addiction. “Not only is it a moral issue. It is a brain issue, a brain problem.”
Recovery will look different for each person. Some people love and benefit from a 12-step program. Others don’t. It’s about finding what works for you, McLellan said.
There are however certain elements of recovery that remain the same. These include having a safe place and anonymity, both of which contribute to the person with the addiction being able to talk and know that what they say will not be shared.
Honesty also is key to recovery. McLellan said a person would never find recovery as long as they’re not able to honestly name their disease and recognize what’s happening.
Although McLellan and Broome are not the only people looking to help men address sex addiction, they do believe they have a niche.
“Our particular focus is we believe that in the local church that there is a real lack of understanding, a real lack of openness to helping people that struggle with these kinds of things,” McLellan said. “You can stand up in your church and tell people that you’re a drug addict or you’re an alcoholic and those have become socially acceptable diseases that you can recover from. There’s far more confusion and lack of understanding and misunderstanding when it comes to the area of sexual addiction.”
A Deeper Look
True Grit Ministries in Tyler exists to educate, train and lead Christian men to be victorious over sexual impurities and addiction to pornography. The definition of grit is mental toughness and courage. The organization’s cofounders believe it requires perseverance, endurance and self-control to overcome sexual addiction and they felt this name reflected that. The organization is in the process of applying for nonprofit status with the IRS. Visit www.truegrit.org or contact John Broome at 903-539-9259 or Scott McLellan at 214-206-6509 for more information.
Cofounder Scott McLellan
B.S. Business Administration and a Master of Divinity
Board Certified Pastoral Counselor
Active in recovery community for more than 25 years
Cofounder John Broome
B.A.Biblical Counseling and MBA
Board Certified Pastoral Counselor
Involved in biblical counseling for more than 20 years
Defining Addiction: The Four C’s
Lack of Control
No concern for consequences
Resources for Addressing Sexual Addiction
True Grit Ministries, www.truegrit.org
Sex Addicts Anonymous Tyler Chapter, www.SAATyler.org
Celebrate Recovery, http://grouplocator.crgroups.info