Love Wins

I went to a strip club

A while back I was asked by a group of pastor’s wives to go with them to strip clubs.

That sentence alone sounds strange. But hang with me.

At first I was a little hesitant. And not for reasons you might think.

I love people. Especially ones who are broken; it’s part of my purpose. But, given what I’ve walked through, I know how fragile hurting people can be.

And I know how insensitive the church can be.

And I was uneasy.

But, these weren’t just any pastors wives.

They had a vision.

One that longed to love on women that society had thrown aside.

It reminded me a lot of Jesus.

So, I jumped on it.

Their plan was to visit these clubs once a month to deliver a meal, gift baskets and confidential STD tests assistance. I joined them the first night and I’ll be honest, I had NO IDEA what to expect.

Now, I had my fair share of time (back in the day) in bars and such, but I’d never been to a strip club. I was totally unaware of what I was walking into.

We arrived and the bouncer ushered us back into the dressing room where we introduced ourselves and began distributing the gifts and food.

I was shocked by what I saw.

And I’ll tell you why:

I was raised to believe that no good comes from places like that. Which is probably true on many levels. (I wouldn’t suggest making it your go-to for date nights)

But, I was filled (as were many church kids) with fear about “places like that”. That “those people” were heathens and doing all kinds of sinful, shameful things.

Which, again, is true of strip clubs.

And bars.

And many other places.

Even churches.

But, these girls – these lovely, girls – were so…..normal.

As I talked with one in particular, she reminded me of any young mom I’d talk to in the school pick up line.

Minus the fact that she didn’t have much clothing on – I tried not to focus on that.

(Oh dear God, she’s talking about strippers in a Christian blog and talking about them being half naked. We should not EVEN be thinking such things! First, my sweet friend, it’s okay to laugh. Like seriously, it’s OKAY. The fact that 4 pastors wives and their pregnant friend even went into a strip club is kinda funny. If you’re going to love like Jesus, you’re going to find yourself in some pretty awkward situations. And if you don’t have a sense of humor, you’re toast. Like seriously. So, I give you full permission to go ahead and laugh at the mental picture) 🙂

They showed pictures of their children, talked of pregnancy (I was pregnant at the time) chatted about trying to get back in shape after having a baby, etc. It was SO NORMAL.

But, as we talked and I looked into their eyes, I saw women – young, broken women. Who had stories, probably much like mine or yours.

We didn’t stay long. They had a shift to work, and we didn’t want to overstay our welcome.

But, as we left, they thanked us.

More than once.

As I drove home, I totally fell apart in my car.

Not because I felt sorry for them. Not because I thought I was so much better than they were. Not because I pitied their circumstance.

I cried because my heart was broken.

One thing God continues to do in my heart, is humble it. Like over and over. Countless times, I think I’m going in to love on some lowly soul and then I walk out, completely undone because the condition of my own heart was exposed.

I wept in my car – realizing the way I had viewed women in that profession.

Because, people – that could have been me.

It could have been any of us.

Had my journey taken a few different turns, I very well could have been on the receiving end of that encounter.


I had my baby shortly after that visit and didn’t get to go back for the monthly visits to see the women.

But, I stayed in contact with one of the women organizing it and every so often, I ask her how it’s going.

They have been visiting them for a year now and received permission to leave a prayer box where the women could leave prayer requests.

The first few times they collected the box it had silly things written in it.

But they continued to leave it there.

Over the following weeks and months (as they continued to love on these women), the prayer requests got real.

Real situations

Real hurt

Real needs

Last time my friend and I got together, I asked about the strip clubs and this is what she said:

Her eyes always, always fill with tears when we talk about it because God is SO in love with these precious women.

She said, “The women are starting to reach out more. I’ve been texting with one and getting to connect with her a bit deeper”

We talked a bit more and she turned to me and said something that I am  still rattled by.

“You know what one of them said to me last time?”


“She said that she was so glad we come to visit them because we’re not like the other churches”

I said, “what did she mean by that?”

She said, “Apparently other churches send them hate mail. ALL THE TIME”

I’m sure my face turned three shades of white.

Complete shock and disbelief gripped me.

We both looked at eachother and about fell into a pool of tears right there.

People – church –  WHAT ARE WE DOING?!

Did we forget (or do we just sing it songs) that Jesus was a friend of sinners, the outcast, the lonely?

Did we forget that it’s God’s kindness that leads us to love others?

That ALL OF OUR GOOD BIBLE LOVING STUFF are like filthy rags without love?

Jesus was UNAFRAID of walking in love to the least of the least.

Like the scum of the scum.

He walked right in, sat down and ate with the outcasts of society.

Gross, ugly messy people.

And the religious HATED HIM FOR IT.

A few years ago, I met with another pastor’s wife across the country who shared with me a similar ministry, although after months of developing relationships with the dancers, they asked the owners a crazy question.

They asked to hold a Bible study.


Just for the dancers.

Surprisingly, they were given a yes.

(Something about it building morale in the employees, but whatever. It was a surprising yes and they were thrilled)

So, they started leading a Bible study in the club.

But, something was missing.

And those serving knew it.

The women they were ministering to needed to be led by a man – not because these women were incapable, but because of the damaged, skewed image they had of men. They needed to see a man who was safe – they needed a man who loved like Jesus.

This woman’s husband (who was a pastor) stepped up and took on the challenge. And, for months the dancers wouldn’t even look him in the eye.

But he kept showing up….

Soon, one by one, the women met a divine love through this pastor’s humble, gentle leadership.

There was prayer.

Women found freedom.

And many went on to lead, healthy restored lives.

All because this group of women and this pastor were unafraid to go where God’s love was leading them.

I’m not suggesting that we all have this purpose.

I am not God.

What I AM saying to you is that if Jesus were here, walking among us, wouldn’t it be just like him to walk into the most un-religious place (strip club or whatever) and completely freak the religious folk out?

Just a thought.

He loved then.

He loves now.

But, he can only reach as far as you and I are willing to go.



*Comments have been disabled*

Author. Blogger. Speaker. Momma to 4.


  • Jimi walker

    When I started to read this post thoughts began to form in my mind on how to respond. As one who danced, not nude or removing clothing, in a upper class hotel bar I had seen Christians come in the club on business. They drank so they would not offend their business guest. I knew this was a bad witness. I became a Christian while I worked in this bar. I knew when the time was right I would leave. It didn’t take long. I carried my bible to work with me and it was on my tray as I served drinks. I stopped making tips, I was critiqued for praying before I ate my dinner, and was given songs to dance to such as ” I’m knocking on heavens door”. The disco jockey would announce as I came to dance, “Later tonight we will be throwing all Christians to the lions” and etc. I didn’t last long there just a few weeks. I have never been back and this club no longer open. But as I continued to read the article and how the women presented themselves to the strippers I have to say I was impressed. I could certainly see how God was working in this ministry. Bless the work and all those involved in bringing God to these broken women.
    Yes, I too was very broken. A school friend led me to the Lord. One of my dancer friends’ was also led to the Lord by my, then, future husband. This was over 40 yrs ago. We both work in a Christian ministry that works with those lost in Counterfit Christian religions. Thank you so much for your post.

  • K. Barnett

    I was humbled and blessed to read this by chance.

    Thank you for taking the time to write it. It’s such a good reminder.

    We get so used to operating according to modern Christian social tradition that we sometimes have to think outside of the box to really, really get a grip on what Jesus would ACTUALLY do.

    • Bubba

      I worked as a bouncer at several bars for several years… as a Bible College graduate. How can you fish if you don’t go where the fish are. LOL

  • A. Garrett

    But for the grace of God. God bless this ministry. Those are His Women at the Well. ❤️

  • Julie

    My church group and me did something similar to this in St. Louis. It was through Joyce Meyer Ministries. We went out into the streets late at night while the ladies were working on the streets. It was a unique experience. Maybe not a good idea for sex addicts, but if you’re strong enough in your spiritual walk, it is a good thing to do.

    • Jim Jefferson

      In many ways, a pastor’s wife is just like a stripper. She puts on a front pretending to know what God’s plan is and pretending like she believes what her husband is saying. She parades around and uses her charms to bolster the community environment of the church, but it’s all an act to continue and increase the money that is given to the church. Instead of money being thrown at the stage or placed inside underwear, it’s handed about in baskets.

      Until you understand this about yourself, you’re just as disillusioned as the young woman who is on stage stripping.

  • Stephanie Henry

    Thank you for sharing this Anna. I am an ex-dancer myself and I can relate will all of this quite well…the brokenness, hopelessness, the judging eye of the church…These women are people too and most of them that end up in that lifestyle are not doing it because they are sleazy, sex-bound addicts. Most strippers that I have ever known are single moms looking to make ends meet and provide for their children. Sadly many of them do develop an addiction to drugs or alcohol, primarily just so that they can “function” on their jobs. We as women of the body of Christ must step up and show them the same love that Jesus has for them…and for many of them, that is simply all it will take for them to open up and allow the Holy Spirit to come in and free them!

  • Tamera

    I managed a restaurant before I became a Christian and I had a sweet quiet wife and mother of 2 school age children who worked for me at night. I asked her one day if she would like to pick up a day shift and she said she wouldn’t be able to because she had another job. I proceeded to ask her where and she said I wouldn’t want to know….I said try me….I thought I was very worldly wise….she worked Mon thru Fri….8am to 10am… was the slowest shift in the back of a book store….she danced naked behind a window. She said the men do not talk to her or touch her…they are on their way to work….She made $100 a day….she had to drink 2 glasses of wine before she danced….she never drank any other time. Her husband was suffering from depression, could not keep a job, and she did not know what else to do. Sadly I was in shock and had no answer. I told the owner of the restaurant about it and he said he wanted to help them. He did give her some money and told her who to get ahold of…his brother was going through the same thing with his wife….she was able to quit the day job. I had no clue and my heart would love to be involved in a ministry like this…but the Lord has us somewhere else right now….I will pray and ask our prayer warrior friends to pray for these ministries now….thank you!!!

  • Carol Cunningham Carier

    I absolutely loved this story! I always think of God as a loving God! This story confirmed that! Carol

  • Jay

    This is certainly a nice sentiment, but the fact that you would ever look down on people because of their profession seems so absurd. Even more disturbing is the author’s suggestion that this kind of mentality is ‘normal’ amongst groups she is familiar with. And despite the author’s kind actions and good will, she’s contradicting herself and still ends the post echoing this same sentiment that people who are strippers are less worthy or are to be shamed. Everything about this context seems alien to me; if you’re a stripper, drug dealer, president, or pastor, your worth as a human being is the same in my eyes.

    • verbumreale

      I think you completely missed the point. She said that if a few decisions had been made differently she could have ended up as a stripper also. It’s clear that she does not think of herself more worthy or righteous than the strippers. Now perhaps you have a problem with the fact that, while her view of the women remained changed she continued to think it unfortunate that some women felt it necesarry to resort to such a life. If that’s the case then that’s a different discussion. But it is clear that the author does not look down on the women she was ministering to.

    • Megan Larino

      Hmm… I did not get that impression at all. I don’t really think it’s fair to hold it against her that she used to look down on the dancers. Have we all not had prejudices or thought/said hurtful things to people that we later realized were wrong? Nobody’s perfect, we all strive to improve over time, and I don’t think Jesus would say to someone who used to be prejeduiced but who not only changed her viewpoint, but took action to help the course of justice, “It’s absurd to me that you used to think like that.” It’s not absurd because it’s human nature to have wrong thoughts. What matters is that, at some point, with God’s help, we recognize the wrong thoughts and fix them. The father of the prodigal son never said to him “I don’t like the way you used to be.” He just celebrated the fact that he came back. Also, I don’t think that the writer was implying that this sort of shaming mentality should be normal among churches, rather that it just is. I don’t know where you live where no church thinks like that. It’s a sad fact that most churches do.

    • Sonja Mcclung

      I’m not sure where you are getting her saying strippers are less worthy. No where does she even imply that. Also, The sad truth of the matter is many many Christians behave in an abhorrent manner toward these women and anyone else they think don’t meet their criteria for “salvation”. Is it wrong? Of course it is but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen all the time. I think that was the whole point of this post.

    • Dayla

      Everyone is an equal child of God yes. As an ex-drug dealer, I knew what I was doing harmful to myself and others. I was finally freed when I met a group of Christians who saw me as.. well me! Maybe they felt better than me, that I will never know.. But they never looked down on me. In fact, later on I ministered along side them 🙂 Who cares how the author wrote this, the main point is JESUS was shared!!! After all, that is the main point <3

    • Riccardo

      It’s a shame we can’t all be perfect like you, Jay. I’m sure God is pleased with your attitude.

  • Allan Wiinamaki

    Awesome article. There’s nothing better than showing the unconditional love of God to someone who is expecting to be judged by a Christian. I have seen gays, lesbians, atheists, muslims etc. respond to the love of God through an encouraging word spoken with the love of Jesus. Thank you for encouraging us with practical ways to be Jesus to societies marginalized.

  • Crystal (@aboobieaday)

    This article made me roll my eyes. Exotic dancers aren’t “broken” people. They are people who use their sexuality to create income for themselves. Some of them may not have a choice (and that is obviously a problem) but many of them are completely aware of what they are choosing. The fact that this writer was shocked that exotic dancers are normal people shows the real problem which is conservative communities can be so judgmental and invoke so much fear in children that they judge places and people before they even interact with them. Who really needed the “ministering” in this case? The writer, clearly (and I’m glad she acknowledged it!). And I feel that I have a right to speak so loudly about this because I was raised to believe the same fundamentalist garbage. The problem isn’t the dancers or their profession. There are “broken” people in every single profession. The word “broken” simply meaning living disadvantaged, or without choice (perceived or real) or disempowered because of race or class.

    The fact that she is comparing dancers to “scum” and “gross ugly sinners” is unbelievable. She needs to reframe her words or scoop herself up a better bible translation because those are some ugly words that shouldn’t be thrown at me, you, herself or any of these so called “strippers”.

    • Kelly

      I have to disagree with you a little. The fact that these dancers are still talking to women of the ministry would show that they both “needed” each other. I’m sure many of us have judged strippers at some point. Hell, I know strippers who judge other strippers. The fact that she acknowledged this before realizing they are also human I think says a lot. And we are all broken in some capacity, aren’t we?? I have pieces of my life that could be interpreted as broken and they are by choice… not because I’m living disadvantaged or without choice or anything about my race or class. It’s nice to know that they weren’t pushing their beliefs/religion on these girls which is probably why it was perceived so positively.

    • karl

      *like* at just the first sentence haven’t finish reading the rest of what u wrote.

      These aren’t lowly soul, these ain’t wrecked and these aren’t broken.

  • Cynthia

    Thank you for sharing this story! It made me tear up. This is such a wonderful example of the way Jesus would want us to live. It is often difficult to step out in faith and I admire your willingness to reach out for the lost ones. This post reminded me of the love I should have for every single person in the world. This story touched my heart!

  • Erin Neal (@ENwrites)

    You, my dear Sister, have made my night. It is rare that I see a fellow Jesus follower who thinks and says what I do. I grew up in these places, my mom was a seamstress and that meant show girls and sequins at a rather young age. But she taught me about love, and faith in ways I never learned in Sunday school. Thank you for this post. I look forward to your posts.

  • Pat Taylor

    God bless you and the pastors’ wives for reaching out to women that some might consider to be “the least of these”- people of little worth. We Christians so need to remember that our heavenly Father loved US while we were still sinners, and He loves the women working in a strip club or on the streets, too. They are precious in His eyes.
    As a nurse working in an ob-gyn clinic in an inner city hospital, I encountered prostitutes frequently. Most often they were there to receive treatment for STDs, and occasionally, for prenatal care. One day a 20-something specifically asked for me to administer her antibiotic injection- often a painful shot due to the large dose amd size of the needle.
    Entering her cubicle, I said “Hey there, so you wanted to see me today?” With a slightly defiant lift of her chin- but with pain-filled eyes- she replied, “Yeah, you give the shot good; it doesn’t hurt me so bad. And you don’t give me ‘the look’, ya know ‘The Look’!”
    Sadly I knew what she meant. Some of my colleagues would never be so unprofessional as to be openly rude to a client, but they could deliver their services with cold efficiency and unsmiling faces. May we always try to see others through Jesus’ eyes, and at least give them a smile.

  • Carrie Rogers

    This is the kind of ministry work I would love to be able to start. Instead of going into the adult entertainment industry to show love and healing; (not that they are less important or not as valued, but because my struggles have less similarity) I would like to try to reach those “junkies”. I am a recovering IV methamphetamine addict. I know just how lost addiction can take you. I do know a high population of the lost drug addicts in my own as well as the surrounding 12 counties.

    Please pray for strength and perseverance in this. I have been called and set aside to be different, in that I have a passion for getting into the nitty gritty parts of the world, to be able to speak truth. I have been praying about what God would have me do with His truth.

    Please pray hard that something wonderful, but fully funded by Christ’s own love for the lost…and dedication to the teachers of His word…is started because people can be bold.

    I attended Celebrate Recovery, and co-lead the women’s chemical dependency group in a sister town and thought I would just spread the word about it. Only, so that others could find one near them and hopefully assist these women in getting into one. It’s almost a mirror of A.A. but focused around the solution and most importantly, Christ. The umbrella of Celebrate Recovery does shade all of humanity in that we are all struggling with something. We all struggle ranging from anger and bitterness to sexual addiction and drugs control over “our” lives.

    Thank you so much for sharing. This has truly touched my heart tonight.

  • Steve Scarduzio

    You are a beautiful person! I volunteer in a homeless street ministry in Camden, NJ, every Sunday night. I don’t even like to call them homeless, because they are people I care about and they have become my friends. We need to love on them. Jesus loved the least of these. Keep up the great work! All for his glory!

  • Alliance

    I pray more of us start loving more like Jesus lives his people. This is a point of reflection for most of us in the church. The church needs revival.

  • prayingmommyof2

    Your story struck a cord with me, because I was one of those girls that you saw in the club.
    I was broken and confused and I remember wishing and praying for someone to help me out of that very dark situation that I had gotten myself into. There were many days I couldn’t believe that I had sunken so low, to take off my clothes for money, and I would leave the club drunk and in tears. But thankfully, someone finally did help me get out of that lifestyle and now I am a Christian mom and author.
    Here’s a little bit of my story:
    I had been raised in a Christian family, but when I was just 12 years old, I was molested by a group of four 18 year old boys. I felt so ashamed and I had no one to turn to. In high school, I got involved with the wrong group of kids and I was date raped at 15. Soon after, I began dating the boy of my dreams, or so I thought. The following year I found out that I was pregnant. I wanted to keep my baby, but my boyfriend wouldn’t let me and I was forced into having an abortion. I was completely devastated. I almost took my life. The years quickly flew by and I was involved in many unhealthy relationships. Soon the latest guy in my life convinced my to start dancing at a strip club…
    There’s a lot more to my story, but what I really want to say is that God had other plans for my life. Jesus redeems each of us, even me, if we allow Him to. I am the worst of sinners, I have broken all 10 commandments, but my God still loves me! He has completely forgiven me and has changed my life forever. I now have a ministry and spend my time being a wife to a wonderful husband, homeschooling our two sweet children and writing for the Lord.
    So thank you, Anna, you are doing a wonderful job by visiting those girls. They truly are sweet, messed up girls, moms and even wives. I know they feel stuck in their situation and would love to get out, but the money is hard to replace. I will be praying for your ministry. Many Blessings!
    If you are interested, you can read the rest of my story here:

  • CS

    A friend posted this on Facebook and I clicked over to read. I am not a church-goer and I have only had sporadic occasions to be exposed to ministry. If my experiences were as open and welcoming and understanding as you have written about, I would be there every Sunday and beyond. You description of walking with Jesus is what I have always thought would be true and should be true of his followers. It is sad that so many have missed that message. Thank you.

  • timmywarner

    Hi Anna, Thnks for your article. I was a little concerned where you were taking us but it was a beautiful story and whenever I hear a conversion story, I always find my eyes welling up just a little. Especially in cases like this where God works miracles in people who seem beyond help to us. I have to say that I am sometimes guilty of that thinking and not leaving it to God.

    I am grateful for your story and in awe of the women doing this vital work and the pastor leading studies for women in this situation and allowing the Spirit to do His work.

  • Joe Rob

    Outstanding….GOD can use us All to do HIS GLORIOUS WORKS….in places that some Churchfolk Refuse to go, out of Fear.

  • Rodney Gass

    Jesus would have been going to these ladies. My wife and I are jail and hospital chaplains, so we meet a lot of good people that have made mistakes. God loves them like anyone.

  • Beth pratt

    Worked as Crisis Pregnancy Counselor for about 5 years. Unless you know where these Beautiful Women have been, or what they have been through…you have No Way of Knowing. Love is what is Needed. Someone who Cares. Men are the answer. BUT, I’m sorry we have SO many Stupid men who can’t destinguish between love and lust. It would Require Very Strong men to be involved.

  • Alan P

    This is truly fantastic! I’m really glad that someone is reaching these ladies. Now, if only there only were people who started reaching out to the CUSTOMERS of these places with the same love, these clubs could be shut down. The men (and women) who patronize these establishments are just as broken and are looking for love too. Seriously. I used to be one of them…

  • Mavowapauline

    And after all the Church talk we see around- this right here is stepping into the darkness with true light. Grace that dares to believe in the work of the grace giver is grace indeed! Bless your souls spirit filled women! Acts 1:8 in essense.

  • StephO72

    I can’t express how much I loved this!! It’s sounds so familiar because I was a broken person! I was led by a friend to a small church that was so accepting and a pastor who helped me learn that’s am worthy. when I had to move to a new town in a bigger city I have not found a church that I feel comfortable in, some are so condemning! I have been told I’m not very Christian like for associating with the wrong people! I agree Jesus would be in these places and befriend anyone! Thank you for sharing.

  • Betty DeHaven

    This shows how we can reach out as Christians to a lost world and be obedient to God’s nudging. God humbles us under different circumstances. Thanks to these pastor’s wives that they were willing to fulfill the call, which gave the women hope and a better life. There are so many ways we can be Jesus to others in need.

  • kridina

    Reblogged this on Kri's Kurious Korner and commented:
    I can not adequately explain my feelings about this, but this article is profound and really hits me in the heart. I love how the writer reminds us that we are all sinners and that we are not better than others, and vice versa. We must be willing to walk where ever we are sent to reach out to our fellow human beings.

  • The Isaiah 53:5 Project

    This is awesome, church outside the church walls is what Jesus intended for us to do.

    If you want to truly be a light in the world, you need to go where the light of Jesus doesn’t normally shine.

    God bless,


  • DIY Diva Unleashed

    We serve such an amazing, loving God. Your post confirmed to me that no matter who we witness to, building genuine relationships is key – we all need to be cared about for “who we are” regardless of where we’re at. And relationships build trust. Thank you for your willingness to go and then share.

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