All Resources

1 4
Nervous about leading a small group?
With the start of a new season begins the start of new small groups and Bible studies in your churches and ministries. Maybe you’re a new leader and you feel sick to your stomach when thinking about leading a group. Perhaps you’re scared to commit to leading, yet God keeps calling you to lead. I completely understand. I’ve been there. I felt so inadequate to lead a group. The second semester of my freshman year of college I co-led a Bible study. I was the youngest leader and had never led a study before. Right before our first study I met with one of the other leaders and said to her, “I can’t do it. I don’t want to do it.” Fear crippled my mind and almost stopped me from walking into the building. I feared what people would think of me. What if I messed up? What if they couldn’t relate to my story? What if I didn’t know the answers to their questions?  The leader grabbed my hand, looked me in the eyes and said, “Joy, God has given you a powerful story. He is here with you and He will be there with you while you lead the study. I will be there too. You are going to do amazing, because you’ve prepared for this and because I have faith in you.” We prayed together, walked into the building, and relief washed over me. I led my first Bible study, I shared my story, and it felt incredible! God gave me the words to say and took away my fears. He can do the same for you.  As a small group leader, there are some things you can do to have success in your group. God is ultimately in control, but we are His vessels and He wants us to put in the work. Here are 10 tips to remember when beginning your small group: Prepare. Spend time working through the study, chapter of the Bible, or whatever content your group is going through. Start working on it at least three days prior to the study. Planning ahead gives you time to allow the material to seep into your life. Be humble. Your group members will ask questions that you won’t have the answer to. That is okay. Admit that you do not know the answer, and then offer to get back with them in a few days. Reach out to us at Authentic Intimacy, and we will do our best to help you find a resource or Scripture to help answer the question. (Check out our video resource: How to Handle Tough Situations in Small Group) Engage. Start the study with an icebreaker. For example, ask a fun get-to-know-you question like: If you could have any super power, what would it be? Asking easy to answer questions allows group members who may feel uncomfortable being in a Bible study setting to begin to open up. As the group gets to know one another, you can stop the ice breakers and ask, “How was everyone’s week?” As the conversation continues to flow, the group will begin to feel more comfortable. (Check out our video resource: Tips for Your First Week of Small Group) Facilitate instead of teach. In small groups, it is important to remember that you are the facilitator and not the teacher. Your goal is to encourage the members of the group to talk and engage more than you are personally talking. Not only does this build connection in the group, but it takes stress off of you as the leader. Instead of trying to be an expert teacher on the subject, we encourage you to focus on facilitating the conversation and encouraging the group members. Reach out to group members outside of the group. If possible, get together with the members in person. Ask them about their background and life and share stories. Investing in your group members shows them that you want to get to know them personally. If meeting in person or talking on the phone is impossible with your schedule, send a text or group prayer email to show that you care and are thinking of them throughout the week.  Love them. Show them you love them for who they are, not for what they do. If they are unbelievers, show them that you love them just as much now as you would if they accepted Christ. In your group, people may share struggles that you have not encountered or experienced. In that moment, it is important to not act surprised or shocked. Instead, thank them for sharing and trusting the group with their story.  Be open and honest. When you are vulnerable, then they will also be vulnerable. Vulnerability and authenticity takes you off a pedestal and shows them you are imperfect, even as a leader. You are creating a safe place for people to find healing in Jesus. When you share your story, use discernment. It is important to not include graphic details that could trigger someone. We want each group meeting to feel safe for all members, and we often are unaware of what each member has been through. Pray. Pray for the whole group and the specific requests of each person, in the group and out of the group. At the end of the study each week, provide a time for the group members to share prayer requests. Get excited! If you’re excited about the group, they will be too. If you get a few people pumped, others will follow. If you love the study, they will be more likely to love the study. Give out responsibilities. Assign roles to the group members. For example, take turns bringing snacks or have two people be in charge of planning the group social. If your group meets online, encourage one person to be the prayer leader to encourage prayer throughout the week. The more they are involved, the more they will feel like it is their group and will begin to take ownership. Take notice of the people who step up to lead. These people could be future co-leaders or could branch out and lead their own group. You are going to do an amazing job leading your Bible study or small group. I’m going to say to you what my leader said to me, “God has given you a powerful story. He is here with you and He will be there with you while you lead the study. You are going to do amazing, because you’ve prepared for this and because I have faith in you.” I hope the tips encouraged you to step out in faith and lead a small group or Bible study. Through Authentic Intimacy, we offer multiple resources for small groups. Most of the studies listed below have additional leader guides, and a few have videos that go with them. If you have any questions about one of our resources or about leading a small group, feel free to send an email to Here are a few of the studies we offer: Rethinking Sexuality: God’s Design and Why It Matters, by Dr. Juli Slattery Sex and the Single Girl, by Dr. Juli Slattery Passion Pursuit: What Kind of Love are You Making? by Linda Dillow and Dr. Juli Slattery Surprised by the Healing, by Linda Dillow and Dr. Juli Slattery Pulling Back the Shades, by Dannah Gresh and Dr. Juli Slattery  
2 7
Why the Church Needs to Address Porn for Women
Pornography impacts men and women, yet when was the last time you heard a sermon on porn in your church? When was the last time you heard it specifically address women? Most female porn addicts feel alone and often feel left out of the conversation. Instead of finding freedom, women live alone in shame and bondage. They begin to think that something must be wrong with them since, “Porn is a man’s issue.” Porn addicts keep their stories to themselves, creating shame and giving the enemy power. To help women struggling with porn addiction, leaders and ministers have to go first and share our struggles. Even if you have never struggled with porn, we must share our brokenness with women in our ministries. Our vulnerability will help other women open up about their addiction and find freedom. Statistics show that women are struggling with porn addiction in our churches. One of the largest porn sites publishes a yearly review with their sites data. In 2019 they saw the proportion of female visitors grow to 32% worldwide, an increase of 3 percentage points over 2018. Pornography addiction impacts the lives of women all around the world. We need to stop shaming the subject and start talking about it. Our women are hurting. Porn destroys their emotions and spirits, causing many symptoms in their lives. Here are a few: Depression. They wake up feeling depressed and think, “Will I ever get over this?” Negative body image. Women look in the mirror and realize that their body will never match up with the bodies they see in porn because porn is fake. Their self-hate leads to shame and turns a woman back to porn for comfort. Negative body image continues the cycle of addiction. She will start to believe the lie that she’ll never be pretty enough for a man to love her. Fear. After watching porn, a woman will feel defeated. She will fear that she will never be good enough for God to love her or to find a Christian spouse. What she does not realize is that a Jesus-loving man will see her through the lens of Christ: forgiven, pure, and blameless. Failure. Because of her addiction, a woman may want to give up pursuing Jesus, stop going to church, or stop reading the Bible. She will feel like a failure and will turn back to porn for comfort. Separation. After not spending time with God because of feeling like a failure, she will feel far from God. Feeling alone and far from God continues the cycle of addiction. Unworthiness. She will begin to feel unworthy of God’s love. After months or years of struggling with addiction, she will think, “How could God love a sinner like me?” Shame. Shame forces a woman to keep her addiction a secret. When she does not share her struggle with others, she may never find freedom or accountability. A woman will keep her addiction to herself because of the fear of how others will react. Other addictions. Eventually, porn may no longer satisfy her inner desires. Similar to drug addiction, the addict will turn to bigger and harder products. The list of sex addictions goes on and on, and all point us away from God’s perfect design for sex. I share this list of symptoms because women need freedom. Women are addicted to porn in our churches and are alone in their struggle. Every Sunday, we preach the good news of Jesus. The redemption of the Cross. Jesus died to redeem lives. He died for these women. He died for porn addicts. Jesus came to break every chain. Every single chain. Even porn addiction for women. Here are 5 things you need to know about the addiction and how to talk about it: 1. Sexual addiction is an intimacy disorder. “It’s not about sex at all, but about the desperate search for love and touch and affirmation and acceptance. Those are descriptions of intimacy. God created us for intimate connection with Him, with others and with ourselves. When those connections are broken or absent, women desperately seek a false substitute. Sex or porn is the best stand-in for the real thing.” -Marnie Ferree 2. Sexual addiction is not about changing behavior, it’s about changing the heart. We need to stop condemning sexual sin without first reaching out to help and to understand the issue. Sometimes a woman will admit to porn addiction, and instead of feeling loved, she experiences shame. Offer her the help she so desperately needs. Help her love Jesus more and help her figure out her heart issues that cause her to turn to porn. Love her and point her to Jesus. 3. Sexual addiction can’t be covered up with a religious band-aid. Telling a woman to pray more or do more will not fix the heart issues. You are trying to fix the behavior, and this band-aid won’t last forever. It will fall off and the wound could be even worse. For women addicted to porn, porn is her coping mechanism. If we fix the outer behavior of watching porn and ignore the heart issues, then the woman will create a new coping mechanism or a new addiction. If we ignore the heart issues, the cycle will continue. 4. Sexual addiction could be caused by unhealed family wounds. Help her to understand the roots that formed the foundation of her sexual addiction. No family is perfect, but her family could have played a role in her addiction. If her family system told her to avoid uncomfortable topics, emotions, or life events, one of these reasons could have caused her to turn to porn. Help her work through her childhood and family relationships. Encourage her to find a counselor. Encourage her to check out Focus on the Family and their network of Christian counselors. This is a great resource to help find a counselor in her area.  5. Sexual addiction could be caused by abuse. Patrick Carnes, PhD, is an internationally known authority and speaker on addiction and recovery issues. In his book, Recovery Start Kit Therapist Manual, he lists statistics of women who struggle with sexual addiction and their past of abuse. 81% have been sexually abused. 72% have been physically abused. 97% have been emotionally abused. Dream with me leaders. Imagine what would happen in the lives of our women if the church started to talk about porn addiction. Imagine the freedom they would feel. Contagious freedom. Women would explain to friends, “Jesus changed my life and the church was a part of it! You have to go with me next Sunday!” Talking about women and porn in your ministry will not only change lives, but your words will grow the Church.   Additional Resources for Porn Addiction Recovery: Fight the New Drug Pure Desire Ministries No Stones: Women Redeemed from Sexual Addiction, Marnie Ferree* Healing the Wounds of Sexual Addiction, Debra and Mark Laaser* Pulling Back the Shades: Erotica, Intimacy, and the Longings of a Woman's Heart,  Juli Slattery and Dannah Gresh Covenant Eyes – Internet Accountability and Filtering* *This is affiliate link; AI may earn referral fees from qualifying purchases.