Ministry Spotlight: Scarlet Hope
November 9, 2016
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
<![CDATA[Today, God Centered Life Ministries is excited to spotlight the work of Rachelle Starr and the ministry of Scarlet Hope. Their mission is to share the hope of Jesus with every woman in the adult entertainment industry. Visit www.scarlethope.org to find out more about the ministry and to get involved. In my early twenties I felt God calling me to share the hope and love of Jesus Christ with women in the adult entertainment industry. I grew up a pastor’s kid and had never stepped inside a strip club before, and I didn’t know exactly how I was going to do this. But I knew I couldn’t just sit inside the four walls of a church building, waiting for women working in the adult entertainment industry to come to me. I knew God was calling me to go, to meet the women where they were and to share the gospel with them. If I wasn’t willing to go inside the strip clubs and meet with the women face-to-face, how would they ever know about a God that loved them so much that He was willing to die for them? How would they ever hear the good news that we have a Heavenly Father who pursues relentlessly, loves fiercely, and forgives completely? I knew God was calling me to action. He wanted more out of me than just having feelings of compassion; He wanted me to do something about it. In 2008 I started Scarlet Hope, a ministry that exists to share the hope and love of Jesus Christ with women in the adult entertainment industry. Every Thursday night, rain or shine, we take home-cooked dinners to more than a dozen strip clubs around the city. Our prayer each week is that we’re not just feeding their stomachs, but that we’re feeding a deeper spiritual hunger. Our consistent presence each week allows us to form relationships and earn trust with the women working in the clubs. We know many of the women by name; we know their kids’ names. We know their struggles and trials in life; we know their hopes and desires for the future. And as these relationships grow, God allows us to pray with the women and share the gospel with them, oftentimes in the middle of the strip club! After about a year of doing strip club outreach, we realized that God was giving us an opportunity to grow. More and more women were beginning to trust us and open up to us. I was having coffee or lunch with a woman from the industry nearly every single day and got to witness several of these women surrender their lives to the Lord. These women were ready to know God more and grow in their faith. That’s when we started Club Zero, our weekly bible study and discipleship program. Each week we gather together and share a meal and study God’s word. It is truly a beautiful picture of how God not only saves us from our sin and gives us an eternal hope, but He gives us hope in this life now. Through this ministry, I have seen hearts changed and lives touched as God has drawn women from the adult entertainment industry to Himself. I’ve seen countless women who were living in utter darkness become totally transformed by the cleansing blood of Jesus Christ. And in the process, my heart has been drastically changed as well. Not only do I have a better understanding of my own sin and depravity and the amazing grace of Jesus, but I have seen the power of the Holy Spirit and what He can do. I have seen some of the hardest hearts softened and some of the deepest wounds healed by His insurmountable grace and love. It’s funny, but since the beginning the dancers have always called us “the church ladies.” I never thought I’d end up with such a traditional title doing such nontraditional work for God, but I think that’s exactly the kind of church lady God was calling me to be. By His grace, I have been given the opportunity to be the church to women working in the strip clubs. Instead of waiting for these women to walk into a church building to hear the good news of the gospel, we at Scarlet Hope bring the good news to them. And that’s what makes it such good news, isn’t it? That while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. This is the message that we bring into the doors of the strip clubs each week, that God loves us in spite of our sin, and that Jesus specifically came to save the sick, the lost, and the broken. This is good news to women who have never known real love or felt true hope before, and this is the good news that I get to be reminded of every single day as I do what God has asked me to do.
Rachelle Starr is the founder and executive director of Scarlet Hope. ]]>
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
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