Freedom From Addiction

Featured Story: Paul Leininger

 

“I always thought I didn’t need help. That I could do this on my own. I couldn’t do it on my own.”

As men, we think we are strong enough to handle our issues. The truth remains, no matter how strong a man, there lies an Enemy in the shadows determined to see us fall. But Paul’s story boasts of a God who is stronger than it all. A God who never intended for us to do this on our own.

During his senior year in high school, Paul found God on a golf course. Growing up in a non-Christian family, it was his girlfriend’s dad that walked him through what it meant to know Jesus. It was all he needed to hear. Paul was now a self-proclaimed “Bible-banger.”

After high school, Paul’s relationship with Jesus struggled. He quickly found himself headed down a dark path, addicted to pornography and involved in an ungodly relationship.

Paul’s addiction to pornography became a catalyst for selfishness and anger. As the sin and secret grew, so did the anger. This deep-rooted anger would eventually follow him into marriage.

Paul met his wife Connie in 1995. Marriage and kids would soon follow. From the outside looking in it seemed as if Paul and Connie had it all together. But Paul’s secret remained in the dark.

“Whenever there’s a secret, it’s the enemies biggest weapon. When you get that secret out you disarm the enemy.”

In 2008 Paul and his family started attending Petra Church, in New Holland, PA, where Paul got involved in a men’s ministry called Men’s Fraternity. In his Men’s Fraternity group, a man named Dean shook Paul’s world with one sentence, “I have a porn problem.”

It was this one sentence, this one moment of admission and freedom for Dean that would ultimately break the chains of pornography for Paul. Paul began feeling his life change, and slowly God was taking away his anger.

Paul not only found a best friend in his men’s group, he found accountability. He found a group of men he could be transparent with.

Because of Petra’s experience with Men’s Fraternity, Men of Iron seemed like a natural fit for their church and a great next step for their men. Paul was part of the initial team that got Men of Iron – Strong27™ off the ground at Petra. Today Strong27™ is an integral part of the men’s ministry at Petra Church.

“Through Strong27™ we have seen the effects of accountability. We are seeing marriages change, we are seeing single men change. Men are more intentional about being godly husbands, fathers, friends, and workers. They are more intentional about taking responsibility for their actions and their sins.”

A 2003 Focus on the Family study showed that 70% of men in the church view pornography. A survey done by the Barna Group in 2016 found that only 7% of churches in the United States have programs equipped to deal with someone who comes to them for help with a porn problem.

Pornography is a serious issue that men in the church are struggling with in silence. At Men of Iron we believe that accountability and one-on-one mentoring can change the narrative. Strong27™ provides men with a chance to be open and transparent. To sit across the table from another man and share in each other’s struggles and victories. To challenge each other to grow as a Christ-follower, husband, father, and leader.

Thanks to Dean’s vulnerability and a desire to have another man hold him accountable, it gave Paul the freedom to do the same. It gave Paul the courage to tell his wife and sons. Today Paul and Connie are not afraid to tell their story and to help other couples walk through similar issues. Paul has experienced a substantial change in his own life through mentoring and he sees the impact Strong27™ is having on the men at Petra Church.

“Guys are admitting things, they are saying I have issues and I need a guy walking beside me. They needed something intentional and something strategic. We are seeing guys sow the fruit of it, they are hearing from other men and saying I need that. The change has been so traumatic that it is changing the men in our church. I want to see this grow exponentially.”

Steve Glick

Second Chances

Featured Story: Eric Stoudt

 

“Men of Iron gave me the courage to be a leader. Going through the Strong27™ mentorship guide and being challenged by my mentor made me a better person. I started living out the things I knew in my heart I should be doing.”

From recovery houses to broken relationships, Eric’s story radiates redemption. He tells a story of a God who never gave up on him and whose plan was greater than he ever imagined. Today, Eric is a man after God’s own heart.

When Eric first met his wife Rachel, they were both coming out of broken relationships. Both were searching for something more, something greater. They knew this time around the foundation of their relationship had to be God. He had to be the center. It was this desire that led them to GT Church in West Lawn, PA.

As their faith in God grew, so did their relationship. They desired to do church the right way. They got involved, they met with leadership, and they invested in people and relationships. It was then that real life change started to happen.

In the fall of 2015, at the recommendation of friends who had been through the ministry, Eric signed up to be a protégé in Men of Iron’s Strong27™ mentorship ministry. For a man who was already growing, it was the momentum he needed. Strong27™ gave Eric a hunger for more, a hunger for God’s word, and a strong desire to lead.

“The biggest thing is accountability. It allowed me to be more intentional with my wife. I learned a great deal from setting goals and accomplishing them, and even from the goals I didn’t accomplish. Strong27™ gave me somebody, walking with me, who could help me be intentional.”

Intentionality and accountability gave Eric the strength to be a better husband, to be a better father, and to be a better leader in his church. It also gave him the opportunity to be a Strong27™ mentor the following year. Besides being a mentor Eric and his wife Rachel serve the church in other areas. Their willingness and heart to do church the right way has allowed them to serve in high capacity leadership roles within GT Church.

Men of Iron gave Eric the confidence to lead well. He is now more intentional in his relationship with his wife and with his kids. He is now a leader of other men at GT Church, helping to change a culture one man at a time.

Steve Glick